Gambia meets US foreign assistance transparency criteria

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By Omar Bah

The United States Embassy in Banjul has applauded The Gambia for having met the requirements for US foreign assistance and looks forward to a continuing partnership to help advance both economic transparency and overall prosperity. 

All governments receiving US foreign assistance are required to undergo a fiscal transparency assessment.

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According to the embassy in a report published this year, The Gambia as a beneficiary of US foreign assistance is being complimented for being one of the 72 governments assessed as meeting the minimum fiscal transparency requirements.

The assessment includes ensuring the publication of key budget documents to be publicly accessible, substantially complete, and generally reliable; publishing government debt data including State-owned Enterprises; maintaining independent and effective supreme audit institutions; upholding transparent processes for awarding government natural resource extraction awards; and where relevant, ensuring the sound legal structure and transparency of sovereign wealth fund.

“Fiscal transparency is a critical element of effective public finance management as it helps build market confidence, and underpins economic sustainability and stability. Transparent fiscal systems provide information to legislatures, private markets, civil society, and citizens that have a stake in the financial decision-making processes and equip them with the information necessary to advocate for and foster economic growth and development,” the report stated.

However according to the report, it should be noted that this does not attempt to cover all aspects of fiscal transparency. For example, the report does not currently assess the transparency of most government procurement procedures or assess how closely the government consults with civil society in developing the budget, nor does the report assess the presence of corruption or the overall quality of a government’s fiscal policy.

“Additionally, applicable law requires that the minimum requirements of fiscal transparency continue to be updated and strengthened annually. Criteria applied in conducting this year’s assessments may change in future years’ assessments. Determinations may change in future reports due to updating and strengthening minimum requirements for fiscal transparency as required by law, changes in performance by governments on public fiscal management, or new information coming to the Department’s attention,” the statement concluded.