Government-by-Government Assessments: Burma
On February 1, 2021, the military staged a coup d’état that reversed fiscal transparency improvements made between 2012 and 2021. The return of military rule dramatically decreased overall fiscal transparency. While the previous government published its executive budget proposal and enacted budget online within a reasonable period, it is unclear if the current regime relied on this budget to allocate funds. While the previous civilian government produced and made available end-of-quarter reports, the current regime ceased this practice and stopped regularly reviewing the budget throughout the fiscal year. Information on debt obligations was available online, but it was out of date. Budget documents were not complete and did not capture allocations to and earnings from military-owned enterprises falling under the Ministry of Defense. There is insufficient public information to determine whether budget documents were comparable year-to-year or whether actual revenues and expenditures reasonably corresponded to those in the enacted budget. The supreme audit institution did not meet international standards of independence and did not issue publicly available audit reports of the government’s financial accounts. The government did not fully specify in law or regulation the criteria and procedures for awarding natural resource extraction license and contracts and did not appear to follow existing procedures in practice. Basic information on awards was not publicly available.
Burma’s fiscal transparency would be improved by:
- Publishing substantially complete budget documents including an end-of-year report,
- Regularly reviewing the budget throughout the fiscal year;
- Publishing allocations to and earnings from military-owned enterprises; and
- Making state-owned enterprise audited financial statements publicly available; including financial allocations to and earnings from major state-owned enterprises in the budget; Disclosing major state-owned enterprise debt; Subjecting off-budget accounts to civilian public oversight; Ensuring budget documents are comparable year-to-year and that actual revenues and expenditures reasonably correspond to those in the enacted budget: Publishing a revised budget when actual revenues and expenditures deviate from projections; Ensuring the supreme audit institution meets international standards of independence and makes reports publicly available; and Establishing civilian oversight over military and intelligence budgets; and Specifying in law or regulation the criteria and procedures for awarding natural resource extraction contracts and licenses, adhering to these laws and regulations in practice, and publishing basic information on all such awards.