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Government-by-Government Assessments: Nicaragua

During the review period, the government made its executive budget proposal, enacted budget, and end-of-year report accessible to the general public, including online.  Publicly available budget documents, however, did not provide a substantially complete picture of the government’s planned expenditures and revenue streams.  Some information on debt obligations was publicly available, but information on contingent debt and government guaranteed state-owned enterprise debt was unavailable.   Budget documents were not prepared according to internationally accepted principles, and the government did not break down expenditures to support the office of the president.  Significant, large state-owned enterprises did not have publicly available audited financial statements.    The government has not publicly accounted for the expenditure of significant off-budget assistance from Venezuela, and this assistance has not been subject to audit or legislative oversight.  Allocations to and earnings from some state-owned enterprises were included in the budget on a net basis, but most state-owned enterprises, including ALBANISA, a joint venture of the Nicaraguan and Venezuelan state oil companies, have not been subject to audit.  The supreme audit institution did not meet international standards of independence and did not audit the government’s executed budget.  The criteria and procedures by which the national government awards contracts or licenses for natural resource extraction were outlined in law, though it is unclear whether the process used in practice to make awards has been consistent with the law.  Basic information on natural resource extraction awards was publicly available. Nicaragua’s fiscal transparency would be improved by:

  • preparing budget documents according to internationally accepted principles;
  • detailing allocations to and earnings from state-owned enterprises;
  • publishing expenditures to support the office of the president;
  • publishing off-budget revenues, expenditures, and debt obligations;
  • ensuring the supreme audit institution meets international standards of independence;
  • making full audit reports for significant, large state-owned enterprises publicly available; conducting a full audit of the government’s executed budget; and
  • making audit reports publicly available within a reasonable period of time.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future