Posted by Rachel F. Wang
Many of the key players committed to promoting greater
fiscal transparency met on Tuesday for one of the first events of the 2013
IMF-World Bank Annual Meetings.
The Joint IMF-World Bank Seminar entitled “Strengthening
Fiscal Transparency and Government Accounting” brought together representatives
from international organizations, national governments, think tanks,
professional organizations, and civil society to discuss how to promote greater
fiscal openness and improve the information base for fiscal decision-making.
The event was kicked off with a welcome address from
Bertrand Badré, Managing Director and World Bank Group Chief Financial Officer,
and included two panel discussions on
- Strengthening fiscal transparency standards
and practices chaired by Richard Hughes, Division Chief in the IMF’s Fiscal
Affairs Department), and
- Improving government accounting chaired
by Chuck McDonough, Vice President and Controller at the World Bank).
Panelists included Moritz Kramer from Standard & Poor’s,
Phil Sinnett from the PEFA Secretariat, Vivek Ramkumar from the International
Budget Partnership, Jo Marie Griesgraber from New Rules for Global Finance
Coalition, Devantri Kaur Santa Sigh from the Malaysian Ministry of Finance,
Gerhard Steger from the Austrian Ministry of Finance, Fayez Choudhury from
IFAC, and Ron Salole from IPSAS board.
Discussions ranged over a variety of areas, including the
revision of the IMF’s fiscal transparency code and new fiscal transparency
assessment; how fiscal transparency feeds into credit ratings and vice versa;
the harmonization of different transparency-related norms and standards; the
role that civil society has played in promoting greater fiscal openness by
governments; and the opportunities and challenges in moving from cash to
The keynote address, given by Gerd Schwartz, Deputy Director
of the IMF Fiscal Affairs Department set the tone for the morning’s
discussion. The text of his speech is provided below:
I would like to use this opportunity to talk about the importance of
fiscal transparency for fiscal sustainability and discuss the work underway to
improve both standards and practices.
More specifically, there are four issues I would like to cover:
- First, I
would like to highlight the progress made in promoting greater fiscal
transparency over the past decade, thanks to collective efforts of many of the
organizations represented in this room.
- Second, I
would like to discuss some of the lessons of the economic crisis regarding the
adequacy of existing fiscal transparency standards and practices.
- Third, I would like to provide you with an update of
the IMF’s ongoing work on strengthening its evaluation tools in the fiscal
transparency area; and
- Finally, I
would like to review the broader agenda on fiscal transparency and government