Newsletter 32 – Dec 2018

2018 was a busy year for fiscal transparency…and 2019 might well get even better!

Any chance you may have missed something?
View our 2018 highlights

If you noticed you missed something…
Prepare for 2019 by reviewing our preliminary work plan and share your plans with us.
Plans 2019

The two biggest economies in Africa meet to advance fiscal transparency
Pretoria, South Africa. 5-6 December

South Africa has established one of the two most transparent budget systems, as assessed by the Open Budget Index since 2006. The edition of the OBS in 2017 confirmed such an achievement. It has also set up one of the greatest examples of collaboration between budget authorities at the National Treasury and civil society to develop a fiscal transparency portal, Vulekamali, to ensure that useful, timely, and relevant information is published in an accessible way, while addressing users’ needs.

On the other hand, the Nigerian Ministry of Budget and National Planning is seeking to establish an ambitious one-stop access site for different fiscal transparency initiatives – budget feedback, open contracting, extractive industries, tax and Ease of Doing Business dashboard- for timely proactive disclosure of all fiscal information and data. The goal is to facilitate public consultation on the use of public resource by ensuring access in one location for timely proactive disclosure of fiscal information and data.

Coordinated by the GIFT network, Nigeria and South Africa held a technical dialogue on Fiscal Transparency Portals. From the Nigerian side eight representatives of different related areas of government, one of civil society and one of the public sector participated in the meetings. Meanwhile, from the side of the National Treasury three different areas participated and representatives from the civil society coalition, Imali Yethu, were present at all times, as well as Vulekamali developers.

Through this peer-learning exchange, enabled by a collaboration of GIFT with the
Collaborative Africa Budget Reform Initiative (CABRI) and generously hosted by the National Treasury of South Africa, an honest and open discussion was held to overcome the challenges to improve fiscal transparency through the use of digital tools. Read the complete report.

How can fiscal transparency contribute to better childhood?
Nairobi, Kenya. December 11-13

The conflict on South Sudan has taken a heavy toll on its children. More than 60 percent of the children born after 2011 have been affected by lack of access to safe water, education and food security. UNICEF public finance for children (PF4C) program has been set up by recognizing that without proper public financial management and fiscal transparency the situation and dependence on outside resources will hardly change.

Therefore, through
UNICEF South Sudan, the International Budget Partnership and GIFT collaborated on December 11-13 to train and prepare the staff of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning to improve its fiscal transparency, considering the governance of its public finance management.

As an immediate result of this effort, the Citizen Budget 2018/2019 has already been published online for both the
Executive Budget Proposal and the Enacted Budget.

Some of the short-term benefits of fiscal transparency in South Sudan could be an easier access to necessary data by development institutions to improve focalization of actions and resources; enhanced coordination among different departments to produce the required information and, in a long-term view, reduce the dependence on development assistance through a stronger public finance management, domestic resource mobilization and focus on results.

Improved procedures for improved engagement
4th Lead Stewards Meeting 2018
December 19

As announced in October 2019, the Operating Procedures of GIFT have changed, requiring all Stewards -not just governments- to have concrete and verifiable goals on advancing fiscal transparency and participation and be willing to inform regularly of this plan. The compilation of the first set of “Plans” and “gifts to GIFT” received during the General Stewards Meeting were presented in the Fourth Lead Stewards Meeting of 2019, where Lead Stewards emphasized that these commitments should be used to improve support and collaboration among members.

Stewards will continue to be contacted to confirm, refine or send their commitments, divided in “Plans” and contributions to the network, the “gifts to GIFT”. Don’t forget to get back to us with your answers! Remember that sharing is the basis for an active community that benefits all.

This is not a goodbye but a ‘see you soon’

Our dear and admired colleague at the Coordination Team, Tania Sánchez, will focus on new professional activities starting 2019. We are deeply grateful for her support and hard work throughout these past two years, in which she helped building our Network strong and trusted, as it is now. Tania´s role was absolutely fundamental to building a welcoming environment, in which high technical collaboration and peer learning were possible, frequent and fruiful. Sure that our paths will cross again, we wish you great success and happiness in this next phase!

Spent all 2018 opening data and haven’t looked at the quality? Look closer!
International Public Sector Financial Accountability Index
The International Federation of Accountants (IFAC), GIFT Lead Steward, in collaboration with The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA), and the Zurich University of Applied Science as a knowledge partner, developed The International Public Sector Financial Accountability Index to track the quality of public sector financial reporting around the world, delivering a country-by-country snapshot of public financial reporting and budgeting, as well as plans for future reform in each jurisdiction.

Most federal/central governments are still on the process of transitioning from cash basis to accrual accounting and report on their own national financial standards.

The Index provides
  • Current accounting basis and financial reporting standards used to prepare financial statements
  • Financial reporting standard-setting structure and process
  • Current recognition basis for budgets
  • Financial reporting and budget reform plans