The national budget sets out how the Government of Sri Lanka plans to collect revenue (through taxes) and spend public money over the following year. These decisions should reflect the government’s economic and policy priorities for the country. However, there is very little disclosure on how the budget is formulated and implemented. This allows the government to make promises to the public in the Budget Speech that can then be unfulfilled. It also undermines the capacity of the public to hold the government accountable to delivering on promises.
Verité’s research in public finance seeks to address this deficit in budget transparency and budget accountability. For example, its pioneering platform ‘Budget Promises: Beyond Parliament’ tracks the implementation of the budget and asks two basic questions: (i) is the government doing what they are saying? and (ii) is the government saying what they are doing? The aim of this enhanced scrutiny is to hold government accountable for its public pronouncements. Verité is also the local implementing partner for the Open Budget Survey, the world’s only independent, comparative assessment of information disclosure in public budgets.