Government-by-Government Assessments: Sao Tome and Principe
During the review period, the government made its executive budget proposal, enacted budget, and end-of-year report widely and easily accessible to the public, including online. However, actual revenues and expenditures did not reasonably correspond to those in the enacted budget, and the government did not publish a revised or supplemental budget. The supreme audit institution did not meet international standards of independence and its reports were not published within a reasonable period. 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 government specified in law and appeared 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.
Sao Tome and Principe’s fiscal transparency would be improved by:
- Including allocations to and earnings from state-owned enterprises in budget documents;
- Publishing debt information, including for state-owned enterprises;
- Ensuring budget projects correspond to actual revenues and expenditure, or issuing a supplemental or revised budget when they do not;
- Subjecting military and intelligence to civilian oversight;
- Improving the reliability of budget estimates;
- Preparing budget documents using internationally accepted principles;
- Ensuring the supreme audit institution meets international standards of independence and has sufficient resources; and
- Making audit reports widely and easily accessible to the public within a reasonable period.