Release All Tax and Customs Regulations (CI0003)
Action Plan: Côte d’Ivoire Action Plan 2016-2018
Action Plan Cycle: 2016
Lead Institution: Ministry delegate to the Prime Minister in charge of Budget and State's Portfolio
Support Institution(s): -Tax Directorate
Policy AreasE-Government, Fiscal Transparency, Legislation & Regulation
Current Situation or problem/question to be addressed/having to be resolved: Population and economic operators' poor knowledge of the tax and customs provisions in force; Main purpose: Increased public information on tax and customs provisions in force; Brief description of the commitment: Online posting of all tax and customs regulations such as, Schedule to Finance Act, Tax and Customs Codes, etc; OGP challenges addressed by the commitment: Improvement of public services, increase in public integrity and more efficient management of public resources; Relevance: Better public access to information related to tax and customs regulations; Ambition: -Make available online to the public and economic operators information related to tax and customs regulations on Tax Directorate and Customs Directorate websites -Ensure the populations knowledge about tax and customs provisions in force in the country -Contribute to a better understanding of public policy and alleviate irregular dealings of economic operators due to ignorance.
IRM Midterm Status Summary
3. , 4., and 5. Publishing information online
Commitment 3. Online posting of all tax and customs regulations
Commitment 4. Release the Communications to the Councils of Ministers on the quarterly implementation of the budget (45 days after the end of the quarter)
Commitment 5. Publish Communications to the Councils of Ministers on contracting process on a quarterly basis (45 days after the end of the quarter)
Brief description of the commitment
3. Online posting of all tax and customs regulations such as, Schedule to Finance Act, Tax and Customs Codes, etc.
4. Make the quarterly situation of State budget implementation available on line.
5. On line posting on the quarterly state of contract operations
Quantifiable and verifiable stages to achieve the commitment:
3. Online posting of all tax and customs regulations
4. Issue and make available online Communications to the Council of Ministers on State budget implementation on a quarterly basis (45 days after the end of the quarter)
5. Issue and post online Communications to the Council of Ministers on contracting process on a quarterly basis (45 days after the end of the quarter).
Responsible institution: Ministry reporting to the Prime Minister for the Budget and the State Portfolio
Supporting institutions: Cabinet of the ministry reporting to the Prime Minister on Budget and State Portfolio.
Start date: December 2016
End date: continuing
Context and Objectives
These commitments aim to inform the public regularly about current financial and customs measures, state budget implementation, and the awarding of procurement contracts. These commitments would result in the online publishing of all fiscal and customs papers, as well as discussions at the Council of Ministers concerning budget implementation and the awarding of procurement contacts. These commitments also highlight the government’s will to be more transparent regarding the management of public finances. According to the director to the prime minister’s office in charge of the budget and state portfolio,1 the public and economic operators have little knowledge of current fiscal and customs measures, state budget implementation, or the awarding of procurement contracts within the implementation of the state budget.
Because the commitments concern the transparency of state action in the areas mentioned, they are relevant to the OGP value of access to information. However, the commitments’ text lacks precision on the breakdown of data and does not mention whether the publications will be available in an open data format.
These commitments have a moderate potential impact. If implemented as written, the commitments will lead to the online availability of documents regarding fiscal texts and procurement contracts. The government2 and civil society representatives3 agreed that with this access, public services will improve, public integrity will increase, and public resources will be better managed. One of the commitments aims to improve the public’s knowledge of fiscal and customs measures applicable to the country and to ensure better visibility of government action. Publishing the information does not guarantee that citizens will be able to understand the texts. Also, even if the information is published, the public will not necessarily have access to the publications, as many do not have internet access or cannot read.4
Regarding commitment 4, communications on how the budget is utilized have been published online since 2014. This commitment does not contribute any new element and consequently has no potential impact.
3. To publish the fiscal and customs texts online: This commitment has been completed. The fiscal and customs texts are available free on the Ministry of Budget and State Portfolio website. The latest publication is dated 8 July 2017.5 According to the civil society assessment report dated October 2017, the texts published on the ministry website are up to date. Apart from the General Tax Code and the Guide to Fiscal Procedure, at least 50 other texts are published on the Tax Department’s website, including information on parafiscal levies, various fiscal taxes, land rights, advertising, and taxation of territorial communities.6 Civil society suggests, however, that the government publish this information in an open format, such as CSV or XML, and not as PDFs. The government confirmed that publications are systematically submitted for publication in accordance with this commitment.
4. To provide and publish online notices from the Council of Ministers regarding state finances (quarterly, 45 days after the end of the quarter): This commitment has been completed. According to the director of the prime minister’s State Cabinet for Budget and State Portfolio,7 the budget and all annexes are published in accordance with the quarterly monitoring principle. The information is available on the Ministry of Economy and Finance website. The latest publication dates from the end of March 2017.8 Therefore, the online publication was up to date on 30 June 2017,9 as confirmed by the president of the civil society platform. The Initial Finance Law is published on the General Directorate for Budget and Finance website. In accordance with the constitution, it should appear there until December. The 2018 version is available online.10
5. To provide and publish online notices from the Council of Ministers concerning the awarding of procurement contracts (45 days after the end of the quarter): This commitment has been completed. The government published information on the awarding of procurement contracts on the Procurement Directorate website. The website is up to date. It published communications between 1 July 201611 and 30 June 201712 in March, June, September, and December.
Early Results (if any)
According to the government, with these commitments, the public can research fiscal annexes from 2016 to 2017. They can also access the information free of charge online, which was not the case before the implementation of the commitments.
In addition, though it is not mentioned in the commitments’ text, citizens can report any irregularities that stem from government communications. The director of the prime minister’s State Cabinet for Budget and State Portfolio pointed out that within the framework of these commitments, an economic operator’s information unit is available online and by email. The unit systematically produces monthly reports and an annual report that is presented to economic operators. The unit also distributes the reports to the Tax Department (a joint commission including the private sector and the Tax Office) and a public-private monitoring body that is responsible for any concerns. Also, according to the director, the private sector or citizens can mail or email the prime minister’s State Cabinet for Budget and State Portfolio directly. The IRM researcher requested the economic operator’s information unit reports from the same government representative in two emails dated 5 and 21 February 2018. However, no proof was provided.
Commitments 3, 4 and 5 should be part of the next action plan. They enable the government to improve the culture of inquiry among citizens. However, simply publishing information does not ensure that the population has the knowledge or a better understanding of government operations. The government should therefore go further in the next national action plan. It should propose more concrete and specific commitments that will increase citizens’ knowledge and proactive participation in accessing information. The next action plan should also consider the barriers to accessing information.
1 Karim Traoré, Cabinet Director, Secretary of State for Budget and State Portfolio, interview by IRM researcher, 2 February 2018.
3 Civil society platform representative, interview by IRM researcher, 2018, followed by phone and email exchanges. 4 Civil society platform representative, interview by IRM researcher, 2018, followed by phone and email exchanges. 5 'Textes, Impôts,' Secrétariat d’Etat Auprès du Premier Ministre Chargé du Budget et du Portefeuille de l’Etat, http://budget.gouv.ci/fr/textes/textes-references-impots.
7 Karim Traoré, Cabinet Director, Secretary of State for Budget and State Portfolio, interview by IRM researcher, 2 February 2018.
8 'Exécution Budgétaire,' Eléments de Gouvernance, Exécution du Budget, Portail de l’Economie et des Finances, Ministère de l’Economie et des Finances, http://www.finances.gouv.ci/finances/execution-du-budget.
9 Civil society platform representative, interview by IRM researcher, 2018, followed by phone and email exchanges.
10 'Loi de Finances Initiale de l’année 2018,' Budget, Direction Générale du Budget et des Finances, Secrétariat d’Etat Auprès du Premier Ministre Chargé du Budget et du Portefeuille de l’Etat, http://dgbf.gouv.ci/loi- de-finances-initiales/.
11 'Les Communications en Conseil des Ministres 2016,' Direction des Marchés Publics, https://marchespublics.ci/fr/communication2.php?AN=2016.
12 'Les Communications en Conseil des Ministres 2017,' Direction des Marchés Publics, https://marchespublics.ci/fr/communication2.php?AN=2017.
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