The IMF today praised Ireland’s fiscal transparency but said improvements need to be made in accounting and Budget coverage.
The International Monetary Fund today published: Ireland: Fiscal Transparency Assessment.
The Irish Government volunteered to be one of the first countries to be assessed against the standards set by the IMF’s revised Fiscal Transparency Code.
The purpose of the Assessment is to help ensure that Ireland’s fiscal transparency practices are fit for purpose in terms of international standards and investor expectations and that policymakers, legislators and citizens have a more complete picture of the state of public finances.
The Assessment, which was conducted in March, found that Ireland’s fiscal reporting and forecasting practices are approaching best practice.
The Assessment also made recommendation for further enhancing fiscal transparency in Ireland, including by (i) expanding the coverage of budgets, statistics, and accounts; (ii) harmonising accounting practices across public bodies; (iii) accelerating the timetable for publication of fiscal data; and (iv) publishing a comprehensive statement of fiscal risks.
The Government said it has already taken steps to address a number of these recommendations.
In April 2013, the Central Statistics Office published, for the first time, an integrated presentation of the quarterly financial statistics for the general government, including data on the value of public-private-partnership contracts and government guarantees, and estimates of the general government’s overall net financial worth. The Government is also bringing forward the date of the Budget to the 15th of October in accordance with new EU fiscal reforms to bring about a common budgetary timeline.
Referring to the Progress Report, Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan said: “while there have been significant changes in the external environment in recent years, the report found that Ireland’s fiscal reporting and forecasting practices are approaching best practice. We welcome, in particular, initiatives aimed at better presentation and at improving the joined-up and unified accounting practices across government and state agencies. The report identifies a number of good practices across the system and further improvements that may be made and these areas are key aspects of our reform plan.” Source: Business and Leadership