Government-by-Government Assessments: Nicaragua
During the review period, the government made its enacted budget and end-of-year report accessible to the public, including online. It presented its executive budget proposal to the national assembly but did not publish it online. Publicly available budget documents, however, did not provide a substantially complete picture of the government’s planned expenditures and revenue streams. While some information on sovereign debt obligations was publicly available, information on major state-owned enterprise debt was unavailable. Budget documents were not prepared according to internationally accepted principles, and the government did not break down expenditures supporting the office of the president. Major state-owned enterprises did not have publicly available audited financial statements. The government did not publicly account for significant off-budget assistance from Venezuela, and this assistance was not subject to audit or legislative oversight. Allocations to and earnings from some state-owned enterprises were included in the budget, but most state-owned enterprises were not subject to audit, including ALBANISA, a joint venture of the Nicaraguan and Venezuelan state oil companies. The supreme audit institution did not meet international standards of independence and did not audit the government’s executed budget. The government specified in law or regulation the criteria and procedures for awarding natural resource extraction contracts and licenses, but it was unclear if these regulations were followed in practice. Basic information on natural resource extraction awards was publicly available.
Nicaragua’s fiscal transparency would be improved by:
- Publishing the executive budget proposal online within a reasonable period;
- Preparing budget documents according to internationally accepted principles;
- Detailing allocations to and earnings from state-owned enterprises;
- Publishing expenditures that support the office of the president;
- Publishing off-budget revenues, expenditures, and debt obligations;
- Making full audit reports for major 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.