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Government-by-Government Assessments: Sao Tome and Principe

The government made significant progress by producing and publicly issuing a revised budget when budget projections did not reasonably correspond to projected revenues and expenditures.  During the review period, the government made its executive budget proposal, enacted budget, and end-of-year report widely and easily accessible to the general public, including online.  Budget documents were not prepared according to internationally accepted principles, and audit reports from the supreme audit institution were not published within a reasonable period of time.  The institution lacks sufficient financial and human resources to meet international standards.  Information on debt obligations was publicly available, except for information on state-owned enterprise debt, which was not disclosed.  While public budget documents provided a substantially complete picture of the government’s planned expenditures and revenue streams, including natural resource revenues, they did not include earnings from or allocations to state-owned enterprises.  Military and intelligence budgets were not subject to civilian oversight.  The criteria and procedures by which the national government awards contracts or licenses for natural resource extraction were specified in law and appeared to be followed in practice.  Basic information on natural resource extraction awards was publicly available. Sao Tome and Principe’s fiscal transparency would be improved by:

  • including allocations to and earnings from state-owned enterprises in budget documents,
  • subjecting military and intelligence to civilian oversight;
  • improving the reliability of budget estimates;
  • preparing budget documents using internationally accepted principles;
  • providing the supreme audit institution with sufficient resources to carry out its work; and
  • making audit reports widely and easily accessible to the public within a reasonable period of time.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future