Wednesday, 5 October, 2022

Bangladesh made significant progress in meeting fiscal transparency report, says US

  • Diplomatic Correspondent
  • 10th September, 2022 05:45:07 PM
  • Print news

The United States has said that the Government of Bangladesh had made significant progress towards meeting international requirements of fiscal transparency in 2022, although it continued to fall short of required standard. 

The US Department of State on Friday (Sept 9) published the 2022 Fiscal Transparency Report in consultation with other relevant US agencies.

The US conducted fiscal transparency assessments of governments that receive US foreign assistance, including Bangladesh, said the US Embassy in Dhaka on Saturday (Sept 10).  The Fiscal Transparency Report, which has been published since 2008, reviews efforts by 141 governments (and the Palestinian Authority) to meet the minimum requirements of fiscal transparency.

It also assesses those governments that did not meet the minimum requirements. The report also indicates whether governments that did not meet the minimum requirements of fiscal transparency made significant progress toward meeting the requirements.

Fiscal transparency informs citizens how government and tax revenues are spent and is a critical element of effective public financial management. Transparency provides citizens a window into government budgets and those citizens, in turn, hold governments accountable.  It underpins market confidence and sustainability.  

“During the review period, the government made significant progress by publishing its end-of-year report within a reasonable period. It also made its executive budget proposal and enacted budget widely and easily accessible to the public, including online,” reads the new US report about Bangladesh. 

It said information on debt obligations was publicly available and budget documents provided a reasonably complete picture of the government’s planned expenditures and revenue streams, including natural resource revenues. 

It said the financial allocations to and earnings from state-owned enterprises were included in publicly available budget documents. “Information in the budget was considered generally reliable, although budget documents were not prepared according to internationally accepted principles.” 

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. “The supreme audit institution did not meet international standards of independence,” said the US report.

“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.”

The State Department report suggested that Bangladesh’s fiscal transparency would be improved by preparing budget documents according to internationally accepted principles and ensuring the supreme audit institution meets international standards of independence and has sufficient resources.

It further suggested that publishing timely audit reports that contain substantive findings, recommendations, and narratives; and making basic information about natural resource extraction awards publicly and consistently available.