Wednesday, January 30, 2013
The IMF is seeking comments on the revision of its Code of Good Practices on Fiscal Transparency and related instruments. The on-line consultation process is open until February 10, 2013.
Specifically it asks: Should the Guide on Natural Resource Revenue Transparency be revised as part of this exercise? If so, what revisions should be made to the structure, format, and content of the Guide?
Washington January 30, 2013
As an oil-cursed citizen I would hold that any information that is not easily and clearly understood by the citizens has nothing to do with real transparency, because the fundamental reason for any transparency is to extract real government accountability to the ordinary citizen and not to someone else, like a transparency “expert”.
Therefore I would ask for the Guide on Natural Resource Revenue Transparency to be revised so as to include the following:
1. For oil producing countries the most important data are: how many barrels of oil have been extracted, what were the costs incurred doing this, and how much net revenue the government received from oil, no matter how, on a monthly per citizen basis. And this should be reported in the major media on a monthly basis.
2. If total oil revenues signify more than certain levels of the nation’s total export revenues, of its GDP, or of all Government tax revenues collected from citizens, then there must be an independent Ombudsman Office in charge of supervising and preparing the information.
3. There should also be a monthly report that indicates the amount of subsidy or taxes, per liter or gallon of gasoline sold domestically, and calculated as if the gasoline could have been sold at international prices.
4. I also urge the IMF, in the name of the same transparency, to report to the citizen of the oil-extracting countries how much fiscal revenue, per liter or gallon of gasoline is generated by all the taxes on its consumption in the oil-consuming countries. Quite often that amount surpasses all the gross revenues of the country that sacrifices the non-renewable resource forever and this even at current prices of oil.