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Government-by-Government Assessments: Mauritania

During the review period, the government made the enacted budget and end-of-year report widely and easily accessible to the public, including online, but not the executive budget proposal.  Information on debt obligations was limited, with debt obligations for state-owned enterprises available in companies’ financial reports.  Budget documents provided a substantially complete picture of the government’s planned expenditures and revenue streams, including natural resource revenues.  The information in budget documents was generally reliable.  However, the government maintained some off-budget accounts not subject to adequate audit or oversight.  While the supreme audit institutions met international standards of independence, it did not publish timely and comprehensive reports.  The government specified in law but did not always appear to follow in practice the criteria and procedures for awarding natural resource extraction contracts and licenses.  Basic information on natural resource extraction awards was publicly available.  The country’s sovereign wealth fund did not have a sound legal framework or disclose its source of funding and general approach to withdrawals.

Mauritania’s fiscal transparency would be improved by:

  • Publishing the executive budget proposal in a reasonable period;
  • Subjecting off-budget accounts to adequate audit and oversight;
  • Disclosing detailed debt obligations;
  • Publishing timely audit reports that cover the entire executed budget and contain substantive findings;
  • Following up on audit report findings;
  • Ensuring the criteria and procedures used to award natural resource extraction contracts and licenses are consistent with the procedural requirements set by law or regulation; and
  • Establishing the sovereign wealth fund’s sound legal framework and disclosing its source of funding and general approach to withdrawals.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future