Brazil’s Efforts to Improve Fiscal Transparency


Posted by Paulo Medas [1]

An increasing number of countries have done an assessment of their fiscal transparency practices against the principles in the IMF’s Code of Fiscal Transparency. Brazil did so in 2016, amidst ongoing efforts to upgrade transparency. The IMF just published the results.

According to the IMF, Brazil’s practices meet many of the principles of the Fiscal Transparency Code at good or advanced levels. Brazil has made significant progress over recent decades in providing regular information on the budget and its implementation at all levels of government. For example, fiscal statistics encompass the general government sector and recognize most of the government’s assets and liabilities. Fiscal reports are published frequently and annual financial statements are audited. The institutional scope of budget documentation is comprehensive and extensive budgetary information is made available to the general public. Since 2010 a Citizens Budget has been  published which provides core information in a non-technical manner. Brazil is also a leading country in providing citizens with a formal voice in budget deliberations. Elected representatives of National Councils and committees and representatives of civil society can contribute to the planning and budget processes, including through participation in public hearings.

There are, nevertheless, several areas in which Brazil’s fiscal transparency practices could be further improved. Brazil provides a wealth of fiscal information; however, it does not systematically provide summary documents that describe developments across the entire public sector, including key risks that could impact public finances, and how they relate to policy priorities and objectives.

The IMF report includes a proposed working plan for strengthening transparency practices. The Brazilian government is already taking steps  to improve its transparency standards. For example, the government has revamped the fiscal risks statement for the 2018 Budget Guidelines Law. In addition, the Federal Senate has created a fiscal council, the Instituição Fiscal Independente (Independent Fiscal Institution.)

[1] Paulo Medas is a Deputy Division Chief in the Fiscal Operation Division of the IMF's Fiscal Affairs Department

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