Sidebar: Annual Fiscal Transparency Report: Fostering Greater Government Accountability
Annual Fiscal Transparency Report: Fostering Greater Government Accountability
On July 28, 2016, the State Department released the 2016 Fiscal Transparency Report pursuant to section 7031(b) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2016 (Division K, Public Law No. 114-113) (“the Act”). The Report reviews 140 governments, during the review period of January 1 – December 31, 2015. The Report provides opportunities to dialogue with governments on the importance of fiscal transparency. Fiscal transparency is a critical element of effective public financial management, helps in building market confidence, and underpins economic sustainability.
To comply with the Act, the Department reviewed the minimum requirements of fiscal transparency in consultation with other relevant Federal agencies, and updated and strengthened those requirements. The Department then assessed the fiscal transparency of the 140 governments originally identified as recipients of assistance in the 2014 Fiscal Transparency Report, considering the public availability, substantial completeness, and reliability of budget documents, as well as the transparency of processes for awarding government contracts and licenses for natural resource extraction. The Department determined whether the minimum requirements were met for each government, and for those that did not, whether they made significant progress toward meeting the requirements. In reaching determinations, the Department considered information from U.S. embassies and consulates, other U.S. Government agencies, international organizations, and civil society organizations. The report found that 76 of 140 governments reviewed by the Department met the minimum requirements of fiscal transparency. Of the 64 governments that did not meet the minimum requirements, eight made significant progress toward meeting the minimum requirements of fiscal transparency.
Fiscal Transparency Innovation Fund
The Act appropriates funds to be made available for programs and activities to assist governments identified in the Fiscal Transparency Report to improve budget transparency and to support civil society organizations that promote fiscal transparency. In response to a similar requirement, the Department and USAID created the Fiscal Transparency Innovation Fund (FTIF) in FY 2012.
The Department and USAID will soon be requesting proposals for programming a planned total of $4.5 million in FY 2016 Economic Support Funds through the FTIF. FY 2015 funds supported 12 FTIF projects in the following countries: Bangladesh, Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Kenya, Mali, Serbia, Sierra Leone, and Ukraine. The projects further efforts by government and civil society to enhance fiscal transparency and public financial management practices, and to improve public awareness and involvement in the expenditure of public resources. Examples of projects include $50,000 to build the capacity of civil society organizations in Bangladesh to advocate for fiscal transparency, and $375,000 to strengthen the ability of auditors and the legislature in Côte d’Ivoire to perform budget oversight.
The full report and further details can be found on the Department’s website at: http://www.state.gov/e/eb/ifd/oma/fiscaltransparency/
Information about the Fiscal Transparency Innovation Fund can be found on the Department’s website at: http://www.state.gov/e/eb/ifd/oma/ftif/index.htm