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Costa Rica: Fiscal Transparency Assessment

Costa Rica: Fiscal Transparency Assessment by International Monetary Fund. Fiscal Affairs Dept.
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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

One of the most important aspects of good fiscal management is the capacity of government to formulate and communicate fiscal policies. Fundamental to this is the production and publication of fiscal reports which are both timely and complete and written in an accessible language. The same applies with regard to the preparation, approval, and outturn data of the budget. Likewise, the identification and management of fiscal risks has become increasingly important in view of the recent international crises which have demonstrated that part of the risks lay outside the traditional areas of central government attention.

The new 2013 Fiscal Transparency Assessment (FTA) Code developed by the Fiscal Affairs Department (FAD) of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is an instrument that seeks to reveal a country's fiscal transparency situation and help prevent fiscal crises. The new Fiscal Transparency Code replaces the 1988 Fiscal Transparency ROSC Code, which was updated in 2007. The structure of the previous Code was based on four pillars, namely the (i) clarity of the roles and responsibilities of public institutions, (ii) degree of openness and transparency of budget processes, (iii) availability to the public of fiscal information, and (iv) guarantees regarding the integrity of fiscal information. This Code has served member countries well, having been used as the basis for the Fund's assessment of 93 countries. The 1998 Code also played an important role in promoting improvements to fiscal standards, institutions, and reporting.

The objectives of the new Code are broad. They aim to enable country authorities, international agencies, markets, and the general public to have: (i) a better understanding of the most significant differences or discrepancies in the fiscal data published by governments; (ii) a more comprehensive description of the main risks to governments' fiscal forecasts, (iii) a clearer picture of how countries' fiscal information management practices compare with international standards, and (iv) a more specific, sequenced action plan for addressing the main fiscal transparency weaknesses identified.

The new fiscal transparency assessment is divided into three pillars. Those are: (i) the presentation of fiscal reports; (ii) the development of fiscal projections and budgets; and (iii) the analysis and management of fiscal risks. Chapters I, II, and III of the report follow this same sequence. The new Code is divided into 38 dimensions. For each dimension, the practice-based situation is evaluated as “BASIC” (yellow), “GOOD” (light green), or “ADVANCED” (dark green). If the practice is not up to the basic assessment, the denomination “LESS THAN BASIC” (red) is adopted.

Costa Rica participated in a fiscal transparency ROSC assessment in November 2007 in keeping with the previous version of the Fiscal Transparency Code.

International Monetary Fund; October 2013
66 pages; ISBN 9781484329856
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Title: Costa Rica: Fiscal Transparency Assessment
Author: International Monetary Fund. Fiscal Affairs Dept.