Angolan Opposition Unita Criticizes Government’s TransparencyManuel Soque and Colin McClelland
Angola’s largest opposition party criticized the National Assembly’s first ever approval of state accounts after fewer than half of government units formally reported their spending.
Only 14 of 39 departments submitted budget monitoring reports for their 2011 spending, Raul Danda, a member of the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola, said in the legislature yesterday in Luanda, the capital. The ruling Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola controls the assembly with 173 of 220 seats, while Unita has 32. The vote passed with 135 votes in favor, 31 against and four abstentions.
“These general accounts are full of omissions and lack truth,” Danda said. “Are we supporting it as it is? Of course not.”
Angola, Africa’s second-biggest oil producer, is taking steps to improve transparency on the urging of the International Monetary Fund after the Washington-based lender loaned it $1.3 billion to weather the 2009 oil price drop to $32.70 a barrel. The sub-Saharan country depends on oil for almost all of its exports and 80 percent of tax revenue.
Even if government departments didn’t supply budget reports, their spending is recorded by the public finance integrated management system, Finance Minister Armando Manuel said in the legislature yesterday.
“This is an act that shows how public resources are being used and the effort we make to comply with the law,” Manuel said. He didn’t give details on revenue and expenses, and the accounts weren’t immediately made public.
Transparency International’s 2013 Corruption Perceptions Index published Dec. 3 ranks Angola 153rd of 177 countries, an improvement of 14 places since 2011. The nation’s score improved one point from last year to 23 out of 100 and year-to year comparisons are difficult because the total number of countries monitored and the scoring system has changed, the Economist Intelligence Unit said in a report today.
“Many of the reforms advocated by the IMF and the World Bank, as well as various diagnostics of the oil industry, have yet to be implemented,” the EIU said. “Given the elite’s grip on the Angolan economy, there is a widespread perception that moves to reduce corruption have focused on making it more sophisticated and less obvious rather than on stamping it out.”