State Department Releases Annual Fiscal Transparency Report

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 (Div. K, P.L.114-113) (“the Act”). The report found that 76 of 140 governments reviewed by the Department met minimum requirements of fiscal transparency. Eight governments found not to meet minimum requirements made significant progress toward meeting minimum requirements. The Department continued to update and strengthen the minimum requirements, as required by law.

The Department evaluated 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 report can be found on the Department’s website at http://www.state.gov/e/eb/ifd/oma/fiscaltransparency/.

Fiscal transparency is a critical element of effective public financial management, helps in building market confidence, and underpins economic sustainability. It fosters greater government accountability by providing a window into government budgets for citizens, helping citizens to hold their leadership accountable and facilitating better-informed public debates. Annual fiscal transparency reviews provide opportunities to dialogue with governments on the importance of fiscal transparency.

The report describes the minimum requirements of fiscal transparency developed, updated, and strengthened by the Department, reviews 140 governments that were originally identified as recipients of assistance in the 2014 Fiscal Transparency Report, assesses those that did not meet the minimum fiscal transparency requirements, and indicates whether governments that did not meet those requirements made significant progress toward meeting the requirements during the review period of January 1 – December 31, 2015. The Department’s fiscal transparency determinations may change from year to year due to updating and strengthening minimum requirements of fiscal transparency as required by law, changes in governments’ performance on public financial management, or new information coming to the Department’s attention. As a result, some governments may fall short of these requirements, despite in some cases maintaining or even improving their overall level of fiscal transparency.