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BD fails to meet fiscal transparency requirements: US

By UNB, DHAKA
14th-Jun-2015       
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Bangladesh has failed to meet the minimum requirements of fiscal transparency for the fiscal year 2015 though three South Asian nations-India, Nepal and Sri Lanka-have been able to do that.
The US State Department released the FY 2015 Fiscal Transparency on Friday evaluating 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.
Of the 140 governments evaluated pursuant to the Act, 60 did not meet the minimum requirements of fiscal transparency, the US State Department concluded.
Of these, nine governments, however, made a significant progress towards meeting the minimum requirements of fiscal transparency.
While the budget is publicly available and breaks down expenditures and revenues, financial allocations to and earnings from state-owned enterprises are included only in the aggregate, the report said in its Bangladesh section.
Information on earnings from state-owned enterprises is included in supplementary budget documents. But, information on allocations to state-owned enterprises is not available.
The budget does not include expenditures to support executive offices. It is unclear whether these represent a significant outlay.
Further, the supreme audit institution has not produced and made publicly available verifications of the government's annual financial statements within a reasonable period of time.
The process for awarding natural resource extraction licenses and contracts is outlined in law or regulation and basic information on the awards is publicly available.
Bangladesh's fiscal transparency would be improved by including in the budget more detail on allocations to and earnings from state-owned enterprises and expenditures to support executive offices and publishing an audit of the government's financial statements by the supreme audit institution within a reasonable period of time, the report said.
The Department assessed the following governments as meeting the minimum requirements of fiscal transparency for FY 2015: Albania, Armenia, Argentina, The Bahamas, Belize, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cote d'Ivoire, Croatia, Czech Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Fiji, Georgia, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Israel, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lesotho, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malaysia, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Namibia, Nepal, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Rwanda, Samoa, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uruguay, Vietnam, and Zambia.
For the purpose of this report, the minimum requirements of fiscal transparency include having budget documents that are publicly available, substantially complete, and generally reliable.
The review includes an assessment of the transparency of processes for awarding government contracts and licenses for natural resource extraction. Fiscal transparency is a critical element of effective public financial management, helps in building market confidence, and underpins economic sustainability.
Fiscal transparency fosters greater government accountability by providing a window into government budgets for citizens, helping them to hold their leadership accountable, and facilitating better-informed public debates.
The Department's fiscal transparency review process assesses whether governments meet minimum requirements of fiscal transparency.
Annual reviews of the fiscal transparency of governments that receive US assistance helps ensure U.S. taxpayer money is used appropriately and provides opportunities to dialogue with governments on the importance of fiscal transparency.

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