16 Mar 2010

Why hide the #Tanzania budget numbers that matter?

Just a quick note that this interesting article in the Citizen raises a good question about the budget guidelines:

The purpose of Budget Guidelines is to help ministries prepare their budgets by telling them how much money they have available. So of the guidelines don't include this information, the ministries must have been told in some other way. Last year they got a letter, which the donors had no problem getting a copy of while the media and civil society struggled.

Transparency matters, but it's about more than making some documents and numbers public. The format also matters a lot.

Is there any good reason not to put the ministries' ceilings in the published guidelines? It looks like they're being hidden, but why? Maybe there is a better explanation. Any ideas?