IMF Publishes New Fiscal Transparency Assessment for IrelandPress Release No. 13/258
July 16, 2013
The IMF has today published a Fiscal Transparency Assessment (FTA) report for Ireland, which was carried out at the request of the Irish Government by a Fiscal Affairs Department team that visited Dublin in March 2013. This report constitutes a pilot of a new IMF instrument for evaluating countries’ fiscal transparency practices based on a revised draft of the IMF’s Fiscal Transparency Code (FTC).
The report found that, following a number of significant reforms in recent years, Ireland is approaching best practice in fiscal reporting and forecasting and meets the basic requirements for fiscal risk disclosure under the revised draft FTC which has since been released for public consultation and is due to be finalized before the end of the year. The report also noted the Irish government’s ambitious plans for further improving the timeliness, quality, and comprehensiveness of its budgets, statistics, and accounts.
The assessment also highlighted that fiscal disclosure in Ireland remains somewhat fragmented and diffuse. The report therefore recommends a series of actions over five years to: (i) expand the institutional coverage of budgets, statistics, and accounts; (ii) recognize all assets, liabilities, and associated fiscal flows in fiscal reports; (iii) modernize and harmonize accounting standards across the public sector; (iv) accelerate the timetable for submission and approval of the annual budget and financial statements; and (v) improve the analysis forecast changes, long-term trends, and fiscal risks.
By consolidating readily available information into a more comprehensive set of summary fiscal documents, these reforms would put Ireland at the forefront of fiscal transparency practice within a reasonable timeframe and relatively modest additional cost.
Background on FTAs
FTAs will replace the fiscal transparency ROSC1 as the Fund’s principal instrument for evaluating the transparency of countries’ fiscal reports, forecasts, and risk management. They examine the extent to which a country’s published fiscal information provides a complete and accurate picture of its fiscal position, prospects, and risks.
The Ireland FTA was one of several pilot assessments based on a working draft of the revised FTC.
Building on the recommendations of the 2012 IMF Board Paper “Fiscal Transparency, Accountability, and Risk”, the FTA improves on the fiscal transparency ROSC by:
• placing greater emphasis on the quality of reported information, rather than the clarity of reporting procedures;
• offering countries with a clearer summary of how their fiscal reports, forecasts, and risk analysis compare against international standards;
• undertaking a more rigorous analysis of sources and scale of any gaps in countries’ published fiscal information; and
• providing countries with a sequenced, medium-term action plan for addressing those gaps.
The Ireland Fiscal Transparency Assessment report can be found here http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/scr/2013/cr13209.pdf
The working draft of the revised Fiscal Transparency Code used in the assessment can be found here http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/scr/2013/cr13209-draftFTC.pdf
Further information about the revised Fiscal Transparency Code and new Fiscal Transparency Assessment can be found at http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/survey/so/2013/POL061713A.htm