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About the Project

The Project to create Electronic Budget Library


Budget transparency and public participation in the budget process can be secured only by achieving duly and operative accessibility of information pieces, thus calling for formation of effective data access mechanisms. Article 31 of the Republic of Azerbaijan’s Law on Right to Obtain Information states that “Information owner should disclose the public information under the method that allows everyone wanting such information to get it as soon as practicable.”  In the modern context, the most operative form of such mechanisms is the development of an electronic information system (information electronization).

Nevertheless, the public face serious problems with the access to budget related information in Azerbaijan. So, according to Article 29 of the Law above, the information owner should disclose budget forecasts and its implementation. Moreover, Article 14 of the applicable Law on Budget System of the Azerbaijan Republic significantly restricts access to detailed budget information.  Since the said article sees it inexpedient to publish in media the draft budget for the next year along with detailed documents containing economic and organizational classification of expenditures, information related to extra-budgetary operations, lists of investment projects financed out of the budget and an amount of budget expenditures by lists. Consequently, it happens that the people can obtain information on total amount of funds allocated for education sector through the published budget law, but cannot define how much is to be disbursed for teachers’ salaries, heating supply system and purchase of text-books; the people can access the funds allocated for health sector through the published law, but cannot see how much have been allocated for doctors’ salaries, purchase of medicines, bandaging materials and food items for patients. And the exiting law fails to establish tough norms for full publication of large-sized annual budget reports and targeted budget programs. Consider the annual 100-page report on the 2008 budget performance: in fact, the report published in media consisted of 3-4 pages that included tables only (once again, reflecting general figures).  

Authorized state agencies attribute problems relating to budget data accessibility with impossibility of publishing in media budget documents and footwork consisting of hundreds of pages. Moreover, coming up with the same argument, they create no conditions to post the budget package on the websites of the Finance Ministry or Cabinet of Ministers. Official opinion is that posting high volume documents online would blunt the operation of the websites and even they would crash from overload. Even so, for example, the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation has posted a 3061-page draft budget for the years 2009-2011 in zip file (http://www.minfin.ru). Namely, it is quiet possible to compress electronized information (through archive formats, such as ZIP, RAR etc.). Such format of archiving information prevents websites from overload.

Azerbaijan not only practices inaccessibility of Internet-based budget information, but also fails to publish and place online essential legal documents, which reflect expenditure normatives of the budget.  For example, the government has secured neither publication nor online access to normative and legal documents intended to establish food supply norms in pre-school and health establishments, norms for consumption of medicines and medical appliances in hospitals, norms for uniforms used by state-run agencies, norms for operation of administrative vehicles and ones regulating their use.      

So, if we sum up the above arguments, civil society in Azerbaijan must conduct serious work to achieve budget data accessibility. Truly, National Budget Group annually publishes the book “Local Budget Guide for Citizens”. However, it should be noted that firstly, the guidebook has the circulation of 1,000 -1,500.  This implies 15-20 copies for each region at most. Second, the book is released at the beginning of year, but in late years the government has been amending the budget in the middle of year. In that case, the guidebook becomes useless. Taking into consideration all this, National Budget Group adds to its priorities the idea of creating Electronic Budget Library initiated  by NGO “Center for Assistance to Economic Initiatives”.

The Project aims to facilitate wider public, as well as interested parties (the media, NGOs, political institutions, business structures, etc) to have better access to budget data.

The Project will be delivered in two stages: organization of budget database bank and launch of www.budget.az  online portal.  

To accomplish these goals, the tasks below have been achieved:

    • www.budget.az iformation portal has been lauched.
    • BUDGET DATABASE has been created; the system contains budget data that are submitted to Parliament every year, and reflect organizational and economic destinations of budegtary expenditures.
    • Budget legislation has been posted online.
    • The list of investment projects has been electonized.
    • Statistical budget data have been posted online.
    • Normative and legal acts relating to budgetary expenditures have been collected.
    • Case studies and publications on State Budget prepared by NGOs and independent experts have been collected.
    • Extra-budget data have been posted.
    • Budget-related reports submitted by state-run agencies have been collected.


The Project is funded by the Open Society Institute Assistance Foundation (OSI-AF).

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