Photo by israel palacio on Unsplash
OGP is partnering with supreme audit institutions and amplifying the demands of civil society organizations to ensure COVID-19 response funds are being mobilized for their intended purpose. This strategy is consistent with the findings of Marcos Mendiburu’s recent study emphasizing that collaboration with CSOs and citizens is paramount to successful external audit processes in order to mitigate power dynamics and boost participation and accountability.
Sadly, there is no shortage of need for such oversight. In the UK, the government curated coronavirus loan scheme designed to assist small businesses has been exploited by criminals – fraudulent loan applications made up 2.3% of the approved claims lent by banks, worth billions of pounds.
Existing funds are unlikely to be enough as the World Bank estimates the pandemic will push 150 million people into extreme poverty by the end of 2021, erasing three years of progress. Many of those newly affected are in middle income urban settings and are educated. Will they be aggressive in demanding government accountability?
Will international institutions retain credibility for their response? Eurodad are critical of IMF actions to date which they fear will lead to a “lost decade” for developing countries, while U.S. lawmakers have raised concerns about the financial viability of the World Bank’s fund for poorest countries if piling debt means countries cannot repay loans.
On a side note, good to see the Filippino business press picking up on the issue of fiscal transparency, as Department of Budget and Management Secretary Wendel E. Avisado touted Philippine’s top ranking in Southeast Asia and ninth globally in the latest Open Budget Survey.