The International Monetary Fund has declared that Malta satisfies the majority of criteria on transparency of public funds. In a report on the analysis of fiscal transparency, the IMF said Malta compares well with advanced European countries, adding that the country should address sectors like fiscal risk management.
The IMF had sent a delegation to Malta in May to carry out an evaluation about fiscal transparency. The report by IMF economists declares that Malta satisfies the majority of criteria in transparency of public finances. The head of the IMF delegation, Torben Hansen, stated that Malta had implemented various positive practices, and the IMF found thaat fiscal reports were detailed, included information about every Government entity, and are being published frequently and within the stipulated time.
Torben Hansen stated that “compared to other European countries Malta came out quite favorably in the fiscal transparency evaluation, compared to the other countries that have done fiscal transparency evaluations. Malta compares very favorably in fiscal reporting and also in budget forecasting practices, but it could make some improvement in fiscal risk management.”
Dr Hansen added that the IMF had noted that Government’s aims and fiscal targets are included in legislation, and praised the manner in which these are scrutinised by the consultative fiscal council, which is autonomous and independent from Government.
Dr Hansen added that the IMF was recommending that Government implement certain changes. These include the publication by Government on a regular basis on tax expenditure, presenting more comprehensive information in the budget documentation, and publishing an annual statement on fiscal risks.
Finance Minister Edward Scicluna stated that about two years ago he himself had requested the IMF to carry out an intensive evaluation on the transparency of public finances in Malta, adding that this report showed very positive results for Malta.
Minister Scicluna added that he is “very happy that the results compare favourably with those of the European Union. We have even fared better in certain areas, there are other areas with recommendations on action to be taken; we have welcomed these recommendations and will strengthen the process which will remain transparent.”
Professor Scicluna declared that this is the first time an evaluation on transparency of the budget process had been carried out in Malta, and Government was committed to continue with the recommended reforms.