U.S. State Department Releases Annual Fiscal Transparency Report

On January 14, the U.S. Secretary of State released the FY 2014 Fiscal Transparency Report.  The Report assesses whether governments that receive U.S. assistance meet minimum requirements of fiscal transparency.  The Department’s assessments evaluate the substantial completeness, reliability, and public availability of budget documents, as well as the transparency of natural resource extraction contracting and license procedures.

Fiscal transparency is a critical element of effective public financial management, helps in building market confidence, and sets the stage for economic sustainability.  Transparency also provides a window into government budgets for citizens of any country, helping them to hold their leadership accountable.

Suriname was one of 50 countries that did not meet the Department’s minimum requirements of fiscal transparency in the FY 2014 Report.  Suriname does not fully report on the financial performance of some significant state-owned enterprise and related government transfers.  The executive branch often fails to provide Suriname’s supreme audit institution with sufficient information to conduct thorough oversight.  The government does not disclose information about how it awards natural resource contracts and licenses, nor does it disclose basic information on awards granted. Suriname’s fiscal transparency would be enhanced by improving the transparency and reporting of natural resource contracts, providing more robust reporting for state-owned enterprises, and strengthening its auditing function.

Reviews of the fiscal transparency of governments that receive U.S. assistance help to ensure that U.S. taxpayer money is used appropriately and to sustain a dialogue with governments to improve their fiscal performance, leading to greater macroeconomic stability and better development outcomes.

The Report is required by Section 7031(b) of the Department of State Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriations Act of 2014.  The Report examines governments receiving bilateral allocations of assistance under the Act.