Bangladesh’s fiscal transparency would be improved by making its end-of-year report publicly available within a reasonable period, says a new report by the United States.
In its 2023 Fiscal Transparency Report, the US State Department laid emphasis on preparing budget documents according to internationally accepted principles, breaking down expenditures to support executive offices in the budget.
The report also suggested ensuring that the supreme audit institution meets international standards of independence and has sufficient resources — publishing timely audit reports that contain substantive findings, recommendations, and narratives, and making basic information about natural resource extraction awards publicly available.
The State Department’s fiscal transparency review process assesses whether governments meet minimum requirements of fiscal transparency.
For this report, the minimum requirements of fiscal transparency include having key 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, helping build market confidence, and underpinning economic sustainability.
Fiscal transparency fosters greater government accountability by providing a window into government budgets, helping citizens hold their leadership accountable, and facilitating better public debate.Annual reviews of the fiscal transparency of governments that receive US assistance help ensure US taxpayer funds are used appropriately and provide opportunities to dialogue with governments on the importance of fiscal transparency.
During the review period, the government of Bangladesh made its executive budget proposal and enacted budget publicly available, including online.
However, it did not make its end-of-year report publicly available within a reasonable period, said the US report.
Information in the budget was considered generally reliable, although budget documents were not prepared according to internationally accepted principles, said the US report.
Information on debt obligations was publicly available.
Budget documents provided a reasonably complete picture of the government’s planned expenditures and revenue, including natural resource revenues.
However, the government did not break down expenditures to support executive offices, said the report.
Publicly available budget documents included financial allocations to and earnings from state-owned enterprises. Information on debt obligations was publicly available.
The government’s supreme audit institution reviewed the government’s accounts, but its reports did not contain substantive findings and were not made publicly available within a reasonable period, said the US report.
The supreme audit institution did not meet international standards of independence, it said.
The government specified in law or regulation and appeared to follow in practice the criteria and procedures for awarding natural resource extraction contracts and licenses.
Basic information on natural resource extraction awards was not consistently made publicly available, said the US report.
Sixty-nine countries did not meet the minimum requirements of fiscal transparency.
Of these 69, however, 25 made significant progress toward meeting the minimum requirements of fiscal transparency.