12 November 2012

Tunisian government’s transparency at issue as World Bank considers loan

The World Bank Executive Board may require Tunisia to improve its access to information practices before approving a $500 million loan to the country.

Freedominfo.org reports that on November 27, the Board will decide whether to approve the “Governance, Opportunities, and Jobs Development Policy Lending (DPL) Project”  for Tunisia . The project’s overall objective is “to help the country lay the policy foundations for a more competitive business environment, a strengthened financial sector, more inclusive and accountable social services, and more transparent public governance.” Access to information is a crucial part of achieving these objectives.

The project report describes challenges with Tunisia’s current access to information regime, government efforts to address those challenges, and how those efforts should be improved. The report also observes that the government’s inadequate transparency in disclosing budget information has reduced the government’s accountability.

The report sets out the expectation that Tunisia’s government will grant at least 25 access to information requests by citizens by the end of 2014. It also sets the goal that the government’s draft budget and budget execution reports be regularly published.