Government-by-Government Assessments: Bangladesh
During the review period, the government made its executive budget proposal and a summary enacted budget widely and easily accessible to the general public, including online. While, the Ministry of Finance has not updated its website with year-end budget execution reports since fiscal year 2014-2015, monthly budget execution reports are regularly published online. Information on debt obligations was publicly available. Budget documents provided a reasonably complete picture of the government’s planned expenditures and revenue streams, including natural resource revenues. While the government included details in budget documents about allocations to and earnings from state-owned companies during the review period, concerns have been raised in the past about off-budget financing of some of these companies. State-owned companies did not consistently have publicly available financial audits leaving disclosed financial statements open to question. Information in the budget was considered generally reliable, although budget documents were not prepared according to internationally accepted standards. Bangladesh’s supreme audit institution reviewed the government’s accounts, but its reports were not made publicly available within a reasonable period of time. The supreme audit institution’s independence and resources did not meet international standards. The criteria and procedures by which the national government awards contracts or licenses for natural resource extraction were specified in law, regulation, and other public documents. The government appeared to follow applicable laws and regulations in practice. Basic information on natural resource extraction awards was not consistently made publicly available. Bangladesh’s fiscal transparency would be improved by:
- ensuring state-owned enterprises have publicly available audited financial statements;
- eliminating off-budget accounts or subjecting them to publicly available audits;
- preparing budget documents according to internationally accepted principles;
- ensuring the supreme audit institution meets international standards of independence and has sufficient resources;
- making audit reports by the supreme audit institution publicly available within a reasonable period of time; and
- making basic information about natural resource extraction awards publicly and consistently available.