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What's Ahead for OGP in 2015?

The Open Government Partnership is now 65 countries strong. Those countries have used the OGP platform to make over 2000 open government reform commitments. Around the world hundreds of civil society organizations and activists have put their energy into making OGP a true partnership between government and citizens. In 2015 this pace of achievement must be strengthened in five areas as we begin the implementation of the new OGP 2015-18 strategy.

Stronger Country Plans

The core of OGP participation is a two-year National Action Plan co-created between government and civil society, with individual commitments that address the particular challenges a country is facing. In 2015 25 countries are required to produce new action plans, meaning there is an opportunity for reformers in government, and campaigners outside of government, to fight for ambitious policy commitments. OGP can also be real a race to the top between countries if the most innovative and testing commitments are replicated from country to country. This includes tackling politically challenging open government issues such as access to justice, security, money laundering and freedom of the press. It also means engaging a wider range of ministries and public facing agencies to be part of the OGP action plan process.

The following countries are expected to publish new National Action Plans in 2015: A...Повеќе

Fiscal Transparency and the Performance of Government Financial Assets

Stock-flow adjustments are typically measured as the difference between changes in gross debt and deficits. These are interpreted as a proxy for unexplained fiscal discrepancies, and often associated with a lack of fiscal transparency. However, such measures fail to capture the role of financial assets and valuation changes and therefore do not correctly predict fiscal transparency. The purpose of this paper is to provide a more detailed exposition of stock-flow residuals and the relationship with fiscal transparency, highlighting government acquisition of equities and investment fund shares and their performance in secondary markets. The results suggest that the performance of government equity portfolios correlates with fiscal transparency to the extent that fully transparent governments are expected to generate between 6 and 8 percent higher returns on their equity portfolios than others. These findings suggest that the performance of government assets may be a promising area for future research of fiscal transparency and stock-flow residuals.

Source: IMF

Read more: http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/wp/2015/wp1509.pdf


Fiscal Transparency, Accountability, and Risk

Fiscal transparency is a critical element of effective fiscal policymaking and the management of fiscal risks. The last decade and a half has seen a concerted effort to develop a set of internationally accepted standards for fiscal transparency and to monitor and promote the implementation of those standards at the national level. This period has also witnessed a steady improvement in the comprehensiveness, quality, and timeliness of public financial reporting in countries across the income scale. Despite these advances, understanding of governments‘ underlying fiscal position and the risks to that position remains inadequate. This was demonstrated by the emergence of previously unreported fiscal deficits and debts and the crystallization of large, mainly implicit, government liabilities to the financial sector during the current crisis. These shortcomings in fiscal disclosure are due to a combination of gaps and inconsistencies in fiscal transparency standards, delays and discrepancies in countries‘ adherence to those standards, and a lack of effective multilateral monitoring of compliance with those standards. A revitalized fiscal transparency effort is needed to address the shortcomings in standards and practices revealed by the crisis and guard against a resurgence of fiscal opacity in the face of growing pressures on government finances. This requires action along three fronts. First, fiscal transparency standards need to be updated to address gaps in and inconsistencies between those standards. In partic...Повеќе

The OBS Tracker: A new Tool for Continuous Monitoring of Budget Transparency

Based on international standards like the recently updated IMF Code of Good Practices on Fiscal Transparency, the Open Budget Survey (OBS) – carried out every two years by the International Budget Partnership (IBP) – has been providing independent and comparable data and analysis on the transparency of government budgets since 2006. Now covering over 100 countries, the OBS – and its resulting Open Budget Index – has come to be seen as an important reference for assessing the public availability and comprehensiveness of budget documents that governments produce and publish.

The Survey is based on a thorough process that takes up to 18 months to complete, and that relies on local researchers and independent peer reviews, including from the governments being assessed. Many have noted how the two-year gap between surveys does not allow for a continuous monitoring of budget transparency, and for civil society actors to keep up the pressure on governments to open up their budgets to public scrutiny. As a consequence, IBP has recently launched a new tool – the OBS Tracker – which aims to fill this gap by providing monthly updates on the publication of key budget documents by the 30 governments that are part of its pilot phase.

The OBS Tracker uses the budget calendars of the countries it covers to highlight wh...Повеќе

Efficient Debt Management through SALM

A recent paper by Fatos Koc discusses the benefits and challenges of adopting a sovereign asset and liability management (SALM) framework in debt management. The paper draws on the experience of countries such as New Zealand, Denmark and Turkey, all of which have adopted the SALM approach, in various forms.

The SALM framework is based on a balance-sheet approach. It is designed to identify and effectively manage the key financial exposures of the public sector as a whole. SALM entails monitoring and quantifying the impact of movements in exchange rates, interest rates, inflation, and commodity prices on both sovereign assets and liabilities in a coordinated way. On the liability side, the aim is to minimize debt service costs subject to a prudent level of risk. On the asset side, the aim is to accumulate an adequate level of net foreign assets, including foreign exchange reserves, in order to conduct effective monetary and foreign exchange policies, and provide a buffer against external shocks.

Uncoordinated management of sovereign assets and liabilities may cause significant mismatches on the government’s balance sheet. For example, balance sheet risk will increase if foreign currency reserves are invested in short-term dollar deposits and financed with long-term borrowing in local currency. This in turn will cause maturity and currency mismatches on the balance sheet. SALM provides comprehensive data on a government’s assets and liabilities, together with methods to detect ...Повеќе