On June 27, 2023, the United States Department of State released the 2023 Fiscal Transparency Report, which found that, of data collected at 141 of our posts around the world, the governments of 72 met the minimum requirements of fiscal transparency. Sixty-nine did not meet the minimum requirements of fiscal transparency.
Of these 69, however, 25 made significant progress toward meeting the minimum requirements of fiscal transparency. Fiscal transparency is a critical element of effective public financial management, helps build market confidence, and underpins economic sustainability.
It fosters greater government accountability by providing a window into government budget spending, which helps citizens hold their elected leaders and public officials accountable and facilitates better-informed public debate. Annual reviews of the fiscal transparency of governments that are eligible to receive U.S. assistance help ensure U.S. taxpayer funds are used appropriately.
The report describes the minimum requirements of fiscal transparency, reviews governments, most of which were identified as recipients of U.S. assistance in the 2014 Fiscal Transparency Report, and further assesses those that did not meet the minimum fiscal transparency requirements during the review period of January 1 to December 31, 2022.
The report also indicates whether governments that did not meet those requirements made significant progress in publicly disclosing 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 had a sovereign wealth fund, it should have had a sound legal framework, military and intelligence budgets should be subject to either parliamentary review and approval or civilian public oversight, and the supreme audit institution should be established in an appropriate and effective legal framework that spells out, in detail, its independence. Also, beginning with this review period, information on government debt obligations should be made available on a public-facing website.