U.S. State Department Releases Annual Fiscal Transparency Report

The United States Department of State released the FY 2015 Fiscal Transparency Report pursuant to section 7031(b)(3) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2015 (Div. J, P.L.113-235).  Swaziland is among 60 governments that were assessed and found to not meet the Department’s minimum requirements of fiscal transparency in the FY 2015 report.

The Department evaluated the public availability, substantial completeness, and reliability of budget information, as well as the transparency of processes for awarding government contracts and licenses for natural resource extraction.  The report can be found on the State Department’s website at http://www.state.gov/e/eb/ifd/oma/.

Fiscal transparency is a critical element of effective public financial management, helps in building market confidence, and underpins economic sustainability.  It fosters greater government accountability by providing a window into government budgets for citizens, helping citizens to hold their leadership accountable and facilitating better-informed public debates.  Annual fiscal transparency reviews provide opportunities to dialogue with governments on the importance of fiscal transparency.

The report describes the minimum requirements of fiscal transparency developed, updated, and strengthened by the Department, reviews those governments that were identified as anticipated recipients of foreign assistance funds in the FY 2014 Fiscal Transparency Report, assesses those that did not meet the minimum fiscal transparency requirements, and indicates whether governments that did not meet those requirements made significant progress towards meeting the requirements during the review period of January 17 – December 31, 2014.  Because the requirements were strengthened, more governments fell short of meeting the minimum requirements than during the previous assessment, despite in many cases maintaining or even improving their fiscal transparency.