IMF: Ireland Approaching Best Practice in Fiscal Reporting & Forecasting
The IMF published on July 16th 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 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.