On June 25, 2021, the United States Department of State released the 2021 Fiscal Transparency Report, which found that 74 of the 141 governments reviewed by the Department met minimum requirements of fiscal transparency. Seventeen of the 67 governments that did not meet minimum requirements made significant progress during the review period.
Fiscal transparency is a critical element of effective public financial management, helps build private market confidence, and underpins economic sustainability. It fosters greater government accountability by providing a window into government budgets for citizens, helping citizens hold their leadership accountable, and facilitating better-informed public debate. These Congressionally-mandated annual fiscal transparency reviews provide opportunities to engage in dialogue with governments on the importance of fiscal transparency, particularly important given the need for significant economic, health, and social spending to offset the shocks of COVID-19.
The report describes the minimum requirements of fiscal transparency, reviews 141 governments, most of which were identified as recipients of U.S. assistance in the 2014 Fiscal Transparency Report, and further assesses governments that did not meet the minimum fiscal transparency requirements during the review period of January 1 – December 31, 2020. The report also indicates whether governments that did not meet those requirements made significant progress to publicly disclose national budget documentation, contracts, and licenses during the review period. The Department of State evaluated the public availability, substantial completeness, and reliability of budget documents, as well as the transparency of processes for awarding government contracts and licenses. Beginning with this review period, if a government has a sovereign wealth fund, it must disclose its source of funding and general approach to withdrawals from the fund. Additionally, debt of all major state-owned enterprises must now be disclosed, and the government must have a supreme audit institution that meets international standards of independence and has verified the government’s annual financial statements.
The report can be found on the Department’s website at https://www.state.gov/fiscal-transparency-report