In 2013, five civil society organizations (CSOs) in Vietnam namely ACDC, Center for Development and Integration (CDI), CECEM, CEPEW formed Budget Transparency and Participation (BTAP) coalition. During 2014-2015, the coalition proposed recommendations for amendment of the State Budget Law to improve transparency, accountability and participatory in state budget management through various advocacy efforts.
On 25 June 2015, the National Assembly of Vietnam has approved the amended State Budget Law with some major amendments on mechanism that make budget open and enhance citizens’ participation in budget process. Provisions in the law states more clearly in article 15 that requires (1) budget documents to be published including executive budget proposal (both at national budget and local budget and It is indicated this document should include both the data and narratives contents); (2) in year report and 6 month report to be publish no later than 15 days of the following period (3) state audit’s report and corrective measures and results of corrective measures (no later than 30 days after its issuance). Article 15 also provides channel to publish budget documents including announcing at regular sessions/meetings; posting in office of relevant agencies; issuing publications; sending official notice to relevant organizations and individuals; publicizing on web pages; informing about through the mass media. Article 16 provides that people have right to monitor budget issues including performance of budget execution and openness of budget (article 16). Article 16 of the amended budget law also provides for mechanism of feedback from community.
While all these details, basing on recommendations of the five CSOs, are newly included in the law, they are creating an essential foundation for further steps to enhance the transparency, accountability and participatory approach in fiscal issues. Future plans of Vietnam BTAP network will include exercising right to access information of people on state budget issues such as feedback and comments using citizen budget documents and enhance people’s participation in budget monitoring including of public investment. Some further pilot of citizen budget will be implemented at local government and social accountability will be practice in wider scope in terms of monitoring budget spending at local level.
In September 2015, the Global Index on Open Budget Index will be luanched and this will be important benchmark index for Vietnam to compare with other good practice to enhance open budget in practice. Further support to BTAP coalition and CDI will be continued by International Budget Partnership.