Bangladesh makes significant progress but yet to meet requirements: US
Bangladesh government made significant progress towards meeting international requirements in fiscal transparency, but it still fell short of the minimum standard, says a new report released by the United States.
The 2022 Fiscal Transparency Report, released on Friday, says that 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.
The government of Bangladesh did not meet the minimum requirements but made significant progress in fiscal transparency, the report said.
Since 2008, in consultation with other relevant US agencies, the Department of State has conducted fiscal transparency assessments of governments that receive US foreign assistance.
The Fiscal Transparency Report reviews efforts by 141 governments (and the Palestinian Authority) to meet the minimum requirements of fiscal transparency; assesses those governments that did not meet the minimum requirements; and indicates whether governments that did not meet the minimum requirements of fiscal transparency made significant progress toward meeting the requirements.
The US report says Bangladesh’s fiscal transparency can be improved by preparing budget documents according to internationally accepted principles, ensuring that the supreme audit institution meets international standards of independence and has sufficient resources, publishing timely audit reports that contain substantive findings, recommendations, and narratives, and by making basic information about natural resource extraction awards public and consistently available.
During the review period, the government made significant progress by publishing its end-of-year report within a reasonable period.
‘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. Information on debt obligations was publicly available. Budget documents provided a reasonably complete picture of the government’s planned expenditures and revenue streams, including natural resource revenues,’ the report read.
‘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,’ it read.
‘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,’ it said.
‘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 report said.