The Vietnam Institute for Economic and Policy Research and the Centre for Development and Integration on July 8 released the 2019 Provincial Open Budget Index (POBI), which assesses how transparently localities spent their allocated public funds last year.
The average transparency score was 65.55 out of 100 points, up from 51 points in 2018 and 30.5 in 2017.
The southern-coastal and southern regions boasted the highest average POBI scores, of 77.16 points and 73.81, respectively.
The north-central region placed last among Vietnam's seven regions, with 52.62 points.
The Mekong Delta province of Vinh Long continued to have the most transparent administration in terms of budget spending, posting 90 points.
Meanwhile, central Phu Yen province and northern Thai Binh province were ranked last, with just 10 points each.
Researchers surveyed 63 cities and provinces regarding two main pillars - budget transparency and civil participation - to evaluate localities' efforts to fully disclose all relevant fiscal information in a timely and systematic manner.
The index is built on the five main criteria of completeness, timeliness, availability, convenience, and reliability in providing seven documents that the 2015 Law on State budget mandates be disclosed and three other documents that need to be published under international best practices.
The POBI is a national initiative implemented independently by non-profit research institutes since 2017. Along with other indexes such as the PCI (provincial competitiveness index), it has become a tool to enhance openness, democracy, and transparency and also helps Vietnam demonstrate its international commitment to promoting open government.
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