São Tomé e Principe

Year of reference 2015

To read the full results, please go to: https://www.internationalbudget.org/wp-content/uploads/sao-tome-e-princi...

Transparency

São Tomé e Príncipe’s score of 31 on the 2017 Open Budget Index is largely the same as its score in 2015.

Since 2015, São Tomé e Príncipe has increased the availability of budget information by:

  • Publishing In-Year Reports online. However, São Tomé e Príncipe has decreased the availability of budget information by:
  • Failing to produce the Citizens Budget. Moreover, São Tomé e Príncipe has failed to make progress in the following ways:
  • Not making the Year-End Report available to the public.
  • Not producing a Pre-Budget Statement.
  • Producing Audit Reports with great delays, which limits their usefulness for oversight.

Public Participation

São Tomé e Príncipe’s score of 0 out of 100 indicates that it provides the public with no opportunities to engage in budget processes. This is lower than the global average score of 12.

Budget Oversight

The legislature provides weak oversight during the budget cycle. This score reflects that the legislature provides weak oversight during the planning stage of the budget cycle and weak oversight during the implementation stage of the budget cycle. The main barriers to effective legislative oversight are:

  • A debate on budget policy by the legislature does not take place prior to the tabling of the Executive’s Budget Proposal.
  • The Executive’s Budget Proposal is not provided to legislators at least two months before the start of the budget year.
  • Legislative committees do not publish reports on their analyses of the Executive’s Budget Proposal online.
  • The supreme audit institution provides adequate budget oversight.
  • Under the law, it has full discretion to undertake audits as it sees fit.
  • Moreover, the head of the institution is appointed by the legislature or judiciary and cannot be removed without legislative or judicial approval, which bolsters its independence.
  • Finally, the supreme audit institution is provided with sufficient resources to fulfill its mandate, but its audit processes are not reviewed by an independent agency.

RECOMMENDATIONS

How can São Tomé e Príncipe improve transparency?

São Tomé e Príncipe should prioritize the following actions to improve budget transparency:

  • Publish a Year-End Report online.
  • Produce and publish a Citizens Budget, a Pre-Budget Statement and a Mid-Year Review.
  • Delays in the production of Audit Reports should be reduced, so as to allow for their publication in a timely manner.
  • Increase the information provided in the Executive’s Budget Proposal by including data on extra budgetary funds and quasi-fiscal activities and by linking the budget more closely to policy by illustrating how new policies affect revenue and expenditure and by outlining nonfinancial inputs, outputs, and targets.

How can São Tomé e Príncipe improve participation?

São Tomé e Príncipe should prioritize the following actions to improve public participation in its budget process:

  • Pilot mechanisms for members of the public and executive branch officials to exchange views on national budget matters during both the formulation of the national budget and the monitoring of its implementation. These mechanisms could build on innovations, such as participatory budgeting and social audits. For examples of such mechanisms, see www.fiscaltransparency.net/mechanisms/.
  • Hold legislative hearings on the formulation of the annual budget, during which members of the public or civil society organizations can testify.
  • Establish formal mechanisms for the public to assist the supreme audit institution in formulating its audit program and to participate in relevant audit investigations.

How can São Tomé e Príncipe improve oversight?

São Tomé e Príncipe should prioritize the following actions to make budget oversight more effective:

  • Ensure the legislature holds a debate on budget policy prior to the tabling of the Executive’s Budget Proposal and approves recommendations for the upcoming budget.
  • Ensure a legislative committee examines and publishes reports on in-year budget implementation online.
  • Ensure audit processes are reviewed by an independent agency.
  • Consider setting up an independent fiscal institution to further strengthen budget oversight.

PEFA: https://pefa.org/country/sao-tome-and-principe