Shultz - Follow the Money: A Guide to Monitoring Budgets and Oil and Gas Revenues

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Transparency and Accountability

Policy, Legal and Contractual Framework

Sector Organization and Institutions

Fiscal Design and Administration

Revenue Management and Distribution

Sustainable Development

Shultz, J.,  Follow the Money: A Guide to Monitoring Budgets and Oil and Gas Revenues ( New York, United States of America: Open Society Institute, 2004)


This report highlights the prominent role of the civil society in fostering budgetary and petroleum revenue transparency, since civil society organizations can push their governments towards spending that responds to public needs. To that end, two budget monitoring mechanisms are discusses: budget work and revenue work.

The focus of a budget work is on translating budget numbers into people’s concerns and needs, coupled with the mobilization of public action that can have an influence on policy, in view of directing to where governments funds should be channeled and at what amount, whereas an extractive industry revenue work is concerned about how the resource wealth is divided between the corporations and the governments, and how the governments use their share of wealth.

Several strategies required to carry out both budget and revenue work are discussed, ranging from demanding transparency in petroleum agreements and direct participation in revenue oversight to teaming up with international NGOs. However, it is noted that a successful budget and revenue work would hinge on the following key factors: analysis of the budget data and related information; building and maintaining advocacy coalitions as joint efforts aimed at involving many people in order to gain a political momentum; effective media work in order to build up public awareness; and dealing with public officials who make the decisions and push them in the direction of civil society’s agenda.

Finally, the report concludes that budget work and extractive revenue work are closely linked, and they required expertise, prudence and patience.

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