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May 2015

May 26, 2015

Mozambique’s Fiscal Transparency Evaluation

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Posted by Xavier Rame, Delphine Moretti, and Esther Palacio[1]

The IMF has recently published a Fiscal Transparency Evaluation (FTE) report for Mozambique. (English/Português) This evaluation was the first to be undertaken in Africa. It shows that Mozambique has made substantial progress in making fiscal information available to the public, but highlights the scope for improvements to the budget documentation and fiscal reports, and further transparency on fiscal risks. The Mozambique FTE is one of ten pilots of the IMF’s new methodology for assessing countries’ fiscal transparency practices, and should help build a more complete picture of governments’ financial accountability practices around the world.

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May 20, 2015

Enhancing Fiscal Reporting & Transparency in East Africa

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Posted by Amitabh Tripathi[1] 

East AFRITAC (AFE) countries[2] have been progressively improving their fiscal reporting practices. These practices have benefitted from wider reform efforts including strengthening of the PFM legal and regulatory frameworks, extending and enhancing the functionalities of IFMIS and progressive improvements in the timeliness and comprehensiveness of in-year and end-year fiscal reports. However, despite some notable improvements, the fiscal reporting function in many of the countries continues to underperform. Common problems include: unclear definition and classification of public entities in the legal framework that adversely impacts the coverage of fiscal reports; lack of timeliness and regularity in the publication of in-year reports and consolidated annual financial statements; failure to adopt internationally accepted standards; and inadequate reporting of expenditure arrears and contingent liabilities.   

These issues have become more significant in the context of the East African Monetary Union (EAMU) protocol that requires harmonization of PFM legal frameworks and fiscal reporting for partner countries, four of which are part of the AFE constituency. Accordingly, following requests from some of its member countries, AFE organized a four-day regional workshop on “Enhancing Fiscal Reporting and Transparency” in Arusha, Tanzania during April 2015. The workshop was attended by twenty-eight officials from the Ministries of Finance and Planning in Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania (including Zanzibar) and Uganda.   

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May 08, 2015

GFSM 2014 – the Quest for Comparable Fiscal Data

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Posted by Sagé de Clerck[1]

With the release of the 2012 IMF Board Decision on Bilateral and Multilateral Surveillance, the Fund’s Managing Director, Christine Lagarde, made a statement that: “In the current challenging and highly interconnected global economic environment, it is critical to have effective surveillance to enable the early detection of risks and provide timely policy advice.” What was not explicitly stated, but implicitly understood by all, is that such surveillance and policy advice in a globally interconnected world depend on the availability of accurate and timely statistical data. Such data should be relevant, accurate and timely, and allow comparisons to be made across different time periods, and different regions and countries.

How do we derive comparable fiscal data?

The Government Finance Statistics (GFS) frameworkprovides a potential solution to the challenges highlighted by Christine Lagarde, so far as the fiscal area is concerned.The 2001 version of GFS introduced an integrated framework of stocks and flows, concepts, definitions, and classifications. It assisted compilers to prepare and report fiscal data for policy making and analysis in a consistent and comparable manner. A further step forward has been made with the recent release of the 2014 version of the GFS manual (GFSM 2014).

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