Manual on Fiscal Transparency (2007)



Dawn Rehm, and Taryn Parry
Published Date:
October 2007
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Summary Table of Principles and Basic Requirements of Fiscal Transparency
PrinciplesBasic Requirements
Clarity of Roles and Responsibilities
1.1 The government sector should be distinguished from the rest of the public sector and from the rest of the economy, and policy and management roles within the public sector should be clear and publicly disclosed.
  • A published institutional table clearly shows the structure of the public sector, identifying all government entities by level of government, and identifying all public corporations.

  • The extent and purpose of all quasi-fiscal activities is explained.

  • Revenue and responsibilities are clearly assigned between different levels of government.

1.2 There should be a clear and open legal, regulatory, and administrative framework for fiscal management.
  • No public funds can be spent without publicly available evidence of appropriation by the legislature.

  • Revenue collection is governed by clear and easily accessible laws and regulations.

Open Budget Processes
2.1 Budget preparation should follow an established timetable and be guided by well-defined macroeconomic and fiscal policy objectives.
  • Realistic draft budget proposals are presented to the legislature according to a prescribed timetable.

  • The likely costs and effects of new expenditure and revenue measures are clearly explained.

  • A consistent multiyear fiscal framework is provided, based on realistic economic assumptions.

2.2 There should be clear procedures for budget execution, monitoring, and reporting.
  • Revenues, commitments, payments, and arrears can be tracked effectively.

  • Audited final accounts and audit reports are presented to the legislature and published within a year.

Public Availability of Information
3.1 The public should be provided with comprehensive information on past, current, and projected fiscal activity, and on major fiscal risks.
  • The budget documentation covers all budgetary and extrabudgetary activities of the central government, the fiscal position of subnational government, and the finances of public corporations.

  • Information published on the central government includes details of its debt, significant financial and natural resource assets and nondebt liabilities, and contingent liabilities.

3.2 Fiscal information should be presented in a way that facilitates policy analysis and promotes accountability.
  • The main proposals and economic background to the budget are explained clearly to the general public.

  • Revenue, expenditure, and financing are reported on a gross basis, and expenditure is classified by economic, functional, and administrative category.

  • Results of central government programs are presented to the legislature.

3.3 A commitment should be made to the timely publication of fiscal information.
  • There is a legal obligation to publish timely information.

Assurances of Integrity
4.1 Fiscal data should meet accepted data quality standards.
  • Accounting policies meet generally accepted accounting standards.

  • Final accounts are fully reconciled with budget appropriations and fiscal aggregate outcomes are compared with previous forecasts.

  • Countries subscribe to the GDDS if they are not able to adhere to the SDDS.

4.2 Fiscal activities should be subject to effective internal oversight and safeguards.
  • Standards for procurement, financial transactions involving the public sector, and the ethical behavior of public servants are clear, publicly accessible, and observed.

  • Internal audit procedures are clear.

4.3 Fiscal information should be externally scrutinized.
  • A national audit body, which is independent of the executive, provides timely reports (at a minimum on an annual basis) for the legislature and public on the financial integrity of government accounts.

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