The development programs that a government is involved in are usually supported by the taxes that the citizens pay. The state, as the custodian of the national resources, must ensure that their management is carried out in a forthright manner that the people can easily understand. That level of accountability is more entrenched and practiced in societies that are democratic in nature. As a practical expression of that commitment at different levels of government, legal statutes such as the freedom of information act have been enacted and put into place. The purpose of this post is to outline the essential impacts that government transparency has on the entire society.
In order to understand the significance of government transparency, it is essential to gain insights on the key components that comprise this vital national virtue. States have the obligation to demonstrate and maintain forthrightness at levels that start with the process that put leaders in government-elections. Towards this end, the participating candidates in the political contest must comply with the relevant regulations that touch on the full disclosure of the campaign funds.
The level and quality of government transparency can be on the line if it is evident that corporations that have vested interests are financing the election campaigns of a particular candidate. This is informed by the fact that the elected leader may not be in a position to offer objective oversight on the firms that were the major sources of his money. Essentially, the politician will be perceived as being compromised and therefore unable to hold erring companies accountable for their actions.
Another crucial level of government transparency that must be exhibited by those in power is the proactive disclosure. The meaning of this is that the information that touches on the interests of the citizenry must be availed by the state without necessarily acting out of the pressure that the people exact on it. This is important since the people are better placed to find out if there is clear evidence of misuse of power especially in the areas of voting record and the expenditure by the state. Towards this end, the forthrightness in the government ensures that the public can easily access the records that relate to the dealings, interactions, as well as the contracts that are being undertaken.
Transparency in government can be viewed as an effective strategy for checks and balances on the state. This is made possible by increased demand for accountability as well as clarity in every activity that is being carried out at the national level. On the other hand, forthrightness on fiscal related issues is a prerequisite for robust economic policies of the state. Failure to hold the system to account will eventually open opportunities and doors to corruption. International financial watchdogs such as the IMF are keen on the observance of forthrightness by governments. This is owing to the fact failure to check state transactions and deficits that are not factored in the national business can adversely impact on the economic health of the state. The reason why transparency activists often get into problems with politicians is informed by the fact that they resist change since they have a lot of things they are trying to conceal.