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US State Department: Armenia met minimum requirements of fiscal transparency for 2020

The United States Department of State released on June 15 the 2020 Fiscal Transparency Report, which found that 76 of 141 governments reviewed by the department met minimum requirements of fiscal transparency, while 65 governments failed to meet minimum requirements.

The State Department’s fiscal transparency review process assesses whether governments meet minimum requirements of fiscal transparency. For the purpose of this report, the minimum requirements of fiscal transparency include having key budget documents that are publicly available, substantially complete, and generally reliable. The review includes an assessment of the transparency of processes for awarding government contracts and licenses for natural resource extraction.

The department listed Armenia among those countries which met the minimum requirements of fiscal transparency for 2020, to mean the public disclosure of national budget documentation (to include income and expenditures by ministry) and government contracts and licenses for natural resource extraction (to include bidding and concession allocation practices). The list also featured Georgia and Turkey.

Meanwhile, Azerbaijan ranked among those governments that were found not to meet the minimum requirements of fiscal transparency, the Voice of America’s Armenian service reported.

During the review period, budget documents and debt obligations were publicly available in Azerbaijan, including online, and provided a substantially complete picture of the government’s revenues, including natural resource revenues, the reports said. However, it noted, the criteria and procedures by which the national government awards contracts or licenses for natural resource extraction – particularly for oil production sharing agreements – were only partially specified in law, regulation, or public documents. It is not clear to what extent the government followed applicable laws and regulations for awarding contracts or licenses for natural resource extraction.  Basic information on such awards was made publicly available after contracts were awarded.

Two other neighbors of Armenia, Russia and Iran, are not included in the report.

Fiscal transparency is a critical element of effective public financial management, helps build market confidence, and underpins economic sustainability.

Annual reviews of the fiscal transparency of governments that receive U.S. assistance help ensure U.S. taxpayer funds are used appropriately and provide opportunities to dialogue with governments on the importance of fiscal transparency.

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