The United States of America (USA) Fiscal Transparency report has exposed loopholes in the much trumpeted and self-acclaimed fight against corruption by President Julius Maada Bio’s New Direction Government.
The Fiscal Transparency Report is done by the State Department of the United States of America pursuant to section 7031(b) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2021 (Div. K, P.L. 116-260) (FY 2021 SFOAA).
“It reviews governments that were originally identified in the 2014 Fiscal Transparency Report and Equatorial Guinea. It assesses those that did not meet the minimum fiscal transparency requirements and indicates whether those governments made significant progress toward meeting the requirements during the review period of January 1 – December 31, 2020,” the report maintained.
The basic criteria for the report which the Government of President Bio failed include having key budget documents that are publicly available, substantially complete, and generally reliable.
It also includes assessment of the transparency of procedures for the awarding of government contracts and licenses for natural resource extraction.
“Fiscal transparency is a critical element of effective public financial management, helps build market confidence, and underpins economic sustainability. Fiscal transparency fosters greater government accountability by providing a window into government budgets for citizens, helping citizens hold their leadership accountable, and facilitating better-informed public debate,” the reports noted.
This report will put countries in good or bad position for US funding and based on this, Sierra Leone could have limited or no access to US Funding.
Sierra Leone’s Audit reports over the years have highlighted failure to follow basic public management procedures in handling public funds.