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Croatia

Fiscal Transparency (HR0013)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Croatia Action Plan 2012-2013

Action Plan Cycle: 2014

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: Ministry of Finance; Information Commissioner

Support Institution(s): Competent ministry; State Asset Management Office

Policy Areas

Capacity Building, E-Government, Fiscal Transparency

IRM Review

IRM Report: Croatia End-of-Term Report 2014-2016, Croatia IRM Progress Report 2014-2015

Starred: No

Early Results: Major Major

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information Civic Participation , Public Accountability , Technology

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Timely publication of the proposal of the State Budget Implementation indicators: In 2014, publication of the proposal of the State Budget and substantiation of the proposal of the State Budget for 2015, with projections for 2016 and 2017, in the following periods for the appropriate forthcoming time periods, supplemented with the listed elements such that it contains the following: information that outlines how the proposals of new legislative solutions impact the revenues and expenditures of the budget year in comparison to existing solutions; functional classification of expenditures for the budget year and the year preceding the budget year; state of the public debt for the preceding budget year and projections of public debt for the mid-term period; structure of the public debt for the budget and previous year; information on the conditional obligations for the budget year (guarantees); information on where to find data on the impacts of macroeconomic assumptions on the budget revenues, expenditures and the public debt (sensitivity analysis). Timely publication of the monthly reports on execution of the State Budget according to the national methodology of the calculation plan and according to the GFS 2001 methodology Implementation indicators: Published months reports on the execution of the state budget, which include the most important categories of revenues and expenditures of the state budget according to the national methodology of the calculation plan, and the monthly reports by the organisation classifications of the state budget and accounts 3 and 4 economic classifications, no later than one month after the expiry of the period to which they pertain, except the report for December which may be published with preliminary data in late February at the earliest. Monthly report on the execution of the state budget and financial plans of extrabudgetary users expressed according to the GFS 2001 methodology published no later than two months after the expiry of the period to which they pertain, except the report for December which may be published with preliminary data in March at the earliest. Publication of the report on the execution of the budget, monthly statistical overviews of the Ministry of Finance and the annual report of the Ministry of Finance Implementation indicators: published reports, statistical overviews and annual reports on the website of the Ministry of Finance under the category “Statistics and Reporting”, reports according to the national methodology of the calculation plan supplemented by data on achieved revenues and published no later than one month after the completion of the period to which it pertains, except the report for December, which may be published with preliminary data at the end of February at the earliest, unification of all reports on the execution of the budget under the category “Statistics and Reporting” on the website of the Ministry of Finance. Publication of the Annual Report on execution of the state budget, with supplements Implementation indicators: Annual report on the execution of the state budget published within the legal deadlines, with supplements explaining the differences between the original macroeconomic projections for the budget year and the actual macroeconomic indicators. Draft and publish a guide for citizens for key budget documents Implementation indicators: Guide for citizens, drafted and published in due time, with simple and easy to understand summaries for the key budget documents: guidelines of economic and fiscal policy, proposal of the state budget and projections, state budget and projections adopted by Croatian Parliament, semiannual and annual reports on the execution of the state budget. Draft and publish instructions for publication of annual reports on operations of companies in majority ownership of the state, or local or regional government units Implementation indicators: drafted instructions on the manner, form and deadlines for publication of the annual report on the operations of companies in majority ownership of the state, or local or regional government units, deadline for publication of reports is 30 October, instructions drafted, sent to companies and published on the website of the Information Commissioner, Ministry of Finance and State Asset Management Office. Monitor the regularity and compete publication of annual reports on the operations of companies under majority ownership of the state, or local or regional government units Implementation indicators: develop the monitoring methodology, publish the results of monitoring on the website of the Information Commissioner. Draft and publically release a searchable database on the execution of payments from the single state budget account Implementation indicators: developed and released publically searchable database on executed payments from the single state budget account in line with the prescribed budget classifications, publically accessible data on direct payments to suppliers from the single state budget account (A portion of the budgetary users in the state treasury system (17 users) who have a large number of accounts and requests for payment execute liabilities via the 632 special purpose accounts in the deposit of the Croatian National Bank. These users issues payment requests in the state treasury system and transfer funds from the state budget account to the 632 account from which they execute payments of liabilities towards suppliers. For all payments executed via the special purpose account, the budgetary users in the state treasury system, it is not possible to search by supplier). Editorial note: In order to simplify the evaluation of the milestones, milestone 4.1., 4.2. and 4.4. were condensed into a single one (4.1.) and milestone 4.6. and 4.7. into 4.4. Because of that, all other milestones in the table and text below were attributed a different number from the one found in the action plan: 4.3. thus became 4.2., 4.5. is 4.3., and 4.8. is 4.5. Lead institutions: Ministry of Finance; Information Commissioner Supporting institutions: Competent ministry; State Asset Management Office Start date: Not specified, End date: 31-12-2014

IRM End of Term Status Summary

4. Fiscal Transparency

Commitment Text:

4.1. Timely publication of the proposal of the State Budget

Implementation indicators: In 2014, publication of the proposal of the State Budget and substantiation of the proposal of the State Budget for 2015, with projections for 2016 and 2017, in the following periods for the appropriate forthcoming time periods, supplemented with the listed elements such that it contains the following:

  • information that outlines how the proposals of new legislative solutions impact the revenues and expenditures of the budget year in comparison to existing solutions;
  • functional classification of expenditures for the budget year and the year preceding the budget year;
  • state of the public debt for the preceding budget year and projections of public debt for the mid-term period;
  • structure of the public debt for the budget and previous year;
  • information on the conditional obligations for the budget year (guarantees);
  • information on where to find data on the impacts of macroeconomic assumptions on the budget revenues, expenditures and the public debt (sensitivity analysis).

Lead institutions: Ministry of Finance

Supporting institutions: Competent ministry

Start date: Not specified   End date: November 2014/2015/2016

4.2. Timely publication of the monthly reports on execution of the State Budget according to the national methodology of the calculation plan and according to the GFS 2001 methodology

Implementation indicators:

  • Published monthly reports on the execution of the state budget, which include the most important categories of revenues and expenditures of the state budget according to the national methodology of the calculation plan, and the monthly reports by the organisation classifications of the state budget and accounts 3 and 4 economic classifications, no later than one month after the expiry of the period to which they pertain, except the report for December which may be published with preliminary data in late February at the earliest.
  • Monthly report on the execution of the state budget and financial plans of extrabudgetary users expressed according to the GFS 2001 methodology published no later than two months after the expiry of the period to which they pertain, except the report for December which may be published with preliminary data in March at the earliest.

Lead institutions: Ministry of Finance; Information Commissioner

Supporting institutions: Competent ministry

Start date: Not specified   End date: continuous

4.3. Publication of the report on the execution of the budget, monthly statistical overviews of the Ministry of Finance and the annual report of the Ministry of Finance

Implementation indicators:

  • published reports, statistical overviews and annual reports on the website of the Ministry of Finance under the category “Statistics and Reporting”
  • reports according to the national methodology of the calculation plan supplemented by data on achieved revenues and published no later than one month after the completion of the period to which it pertains, except the report for December, which may be published with preliminary data at the end of February at the earliest
  • unification of all reports on the execution of the budget under the category “Statistics and Reporting” on the website of the Ministry of Finance

Lead institutions: Ministry of Finance

Supporting institutions: None specified

Start date: Not specified   End date: continuous

4.4. Publication of the Annual Report on execution of the state budget, with supplements

Implementation indicators: Annual report on the execution of the state budget published within the legal deadlines, with supplements explaining the differences between the original macroeconomic projections for the budget year and the actual macroeconomic indicators.

Lead institutions: Ministry of Finance

Supporting institutions: None specified

Start date: Not specified   End date: continuous

4.5. Draft and publish a guide for citizens for key budget documents 

Implementation indicators: Guide for citizens, drafted and published in due time, with simple and easy to understand summaries for the key budget documents: guidelines of economic and fiscal policy, proposal of the state budget and projections, state budget and projections adopted by Croatian Parliament, semi-annual and annual reports on the execution of the state budget.

Lead institutions: Ministry of Finance

Supporting institutions: None specified

Start date: Not specified   End date: continuous

4.6. Draft and publish instructions for publication of annual reports on operations of companies in majority ownership of the state, or local or regional government units

Implementation indicators:

  • drafted instructions on the manner, form and deadlines for publication of the annual report on the operations of companies in majority ownership of the state, or local or regional government units
  • deadline for publication of reports is 30 October
  • instructions drafted, sent to companies and published on the website of the Information Commissioner, Ministry of Finance and State Asset Management Office

Lead institutions: Information Commissioner

Supporting institutions: State Asset Management Office

Start date: Not specified   End date: September 2014

4.7. Monitor the regularity and compete publication of annual reports on the operations of companies under majority ownership of the state, or local or regional government units .

Implementation indicators:

  • develop the monitoring methodology
  • publish the results of monitoring on the website of the Information Commissioner

Lead institutions: Information Commissioner

Supporting institutions: State Asset Management Office

Start date: Not specified   End date: end of calendar year; continuous

4.8. Draft and publically release a searchable database on the execution of payments from the single state budget account

Implementation indicators:

  • developed and released publically searchable database on executed payments from the single state budget account in line with the prescribed budget classifications
  • publically accessible data on direct payments to suppliers from the single state budget account

(A portion of the budgetary users in the state treasury system (17 users) who have a large number of accounts and requests for payment execute liabilities via the 632 special purpose accounts in the deposit of the Croatian National Bank. These users issues payment requests in the state treasury system and transfer funds from the state budget account to the 632 account from which they execute payments of liabilities towards suppliers. For all payments executed via the special purpose account, the budgetary users in the state treasury system, it is not possible to search by supplier).

Lead institutions: Ministry of Finance

Supporting institutions: None specified

Start date: Not specified   End date: September 2014

Editorial note: In order to simplify the evaluation of the milestones, milestone 4.1, 4.2, and 4.4 were condensed into a single one (4.1) and milestone 4.6 and 4.7 into 4.4. Because of that, all other milestones in the table and text below were attributed a different number from the one found in the action plan: 4.3 thus became 4.2, 4.5 is 4.3, and 4.8 is 4.5.

Commitment Aim:

In Croatia, there is a lack of fiscal information that the public can easily access and understand. Most of the data available are highly technical and can essentially only be interpreted by experts. Additionally, most of the data available do not follow a uniform standard, and when the data include input from public authorities other than the ministries, that information is not reported to the Ministry of Finance on time, even though the ministry has a reporting obligation to disclose this information. The main feature of all the activities within this commitment is to secure timely and accurate information on the state budget at various stages of the budgetary process and to serve as a guideline to help citizens navigate the published documents (milestones 4.1–4.3). Other milestones include disclosing information on companies with majority ownership of the public sector (4.4) and payments from the state budget account (4.5).

Status

Midterm: Substantial

4.1 Timely publication of the state budget proposal, reports, and the annual report, with supplements (substantial)

4.2 Timely publication of the budget execution report, statistical overviews, and the Ministry of Finance annual report (substantial)

4.3 Drafting and publishing citizen guides for key budget documents (substantial)

The completion level for the activities envisaged under the first three milestones were found to be substantial by the IRM midterm report. The reasons they were not assessed as complete include the following:

•  the data published was incomplete;

•  the data was published in a different place from the one specified by the commitment; and

•  the data was not published in a timely manner, etc.

For a more detailed analysis, please refer to the 2014–2015 IRM midterm report.

4.4 Draft and publish instructions and monitor the regularity of publication of annual reports on the operations of companies under majority ownership of the state, or local or regional government units (limited)

Both implementing activities for this milestone were intended to help develop a register to identify and monitor with the operations of majority state-owned companies as well as local and regional units. According to the self-assessment report, the implementation of the first activity—meetings between the two lead implementing agencies—took place, but the actual creation of the register was only started, not completed. Creating a register to monitor the regular and complete publication of the operations of state-owned companies is the more critical component of this milestone. Companies with majority public ownership have been identified and included in the list of public authorities, but the first draft of the instructions (in cooperation with the Institute of Public Finance) was developed after the reporting period.

In addition, an analytical report on the transparency of work for 43 mostly state-owned companies was drafted, regarding their compliance with the legal obligation to proactively publish information. According to government officials, the distribution of the instructions was expected in June 2016. Therefore, the IRM researcher found there was sufficient progress in the implementation of the necessary activities that this milestone achieved limited completion.

4.5. Draft and publically release a searchable database on the execution of payments from the single state budget account (completed)

End of term: Substantial

No activities, other than the ones already being executed at midterm and described in the 2014–2015 IRM report, were implemented by the Ministry of Finance with regard to milestones 4.1–4.3 and 4.5, and their completion levels remain unchanged at substantial. The IRM researcher found that milestone 4.4 is now completed. According to the information commissioner, the State Office for State Property Management, the Institute of Public Finance, and the Ministry of Finance cooperated to complete instructions for the majority of publicly owned companies. The instructions, developed in May 2016, compel companies to disclose information and detail the manner, form, and deadlines for publication of their annual reports.

The instructions for information disclosure were published at the information commissioner’s website[Note 20: Available at http://www.pristupinfo.hr/uputa-za-objavu-godisnjeg-izvjesca-o-poslovanju-trgovackih-drustava-u-vecinskom-vlasnistvu-drzave-lokalnih-i-regionalnih-jedinica/.%5D and distributed twice to all relevant companies that are on the list of public authorities (milestone 2.1). According to the interviewed stakeholders and the draft self-assessment report, the instructions also stated that the publication of annual reports will be monitored in the period from June to October 2016 (for data from 2013, 2014, and 2015). This information is now available for available for 721 companies for 2013, 2014, and 2015.

Did it open government?

Access to information: Major

Civic participation: Did not change

Public accountability: Did not change

The first OGP action plan integrated the indicators from the Open Budget Index (OBI) in order to focus on areas where Croatia achieved lower scores. However, the indicators were not implemented in accordance with international standards or in the time period envisaged by the action plan.

Items that were incomplete during the previous action were included in the current action plan, but their requirements and indicators were less strict than recommended by the OBI’s Open Budget Survey (OB Survey). As for the OBI, the 2012 survey showed slight improvement for Croatia (61 out of 100, compared to 57 in 2010). The 2015 OB Survey,[Note 21: Available at http://survey.internationalbudget.org/#profile/HR.%5D however, showed a sharp decline for Croatia, from 61 to 53, indicating that the Ministry of Finance has limited itself to traditional forms of financial transparency (such as publishing the state budget (proposal) and monthly and annual reports). This change can be seen in lowered expectations when comparing the second action plan commitments to the first action plan.

The Ministry of Finance was reluctant to include some of these activities, such as supplements to annual reports or expanded guides for citizens, because they felt that they were already providing the necessary data. In addition, resource constraints further impeded expansion of the annual reports; the department did not have the staff or funding capacity needed for expanding on what they were already publishing. This led to a reduction in the scope of activities included in the commitment, compared to the OBI requirements and indicators, resulting in a limited completion of those requirements.

The overall potential impact of this commitment was moderate, aside from milestones 4.4 and 4.5, which were potentially transformative. Regarding milestones 4.1–4.3, since the Budget Act already mandates most of the commitment activities, their implementation did not transform “business as usual” for the government in any of the observed areas. However, the two completed milestones did have a major influence on access to information. Namely, the publication of annual reports by government-owned companies is now monitored, with a list of the respective annual reports now housed as a database on a single website. Also, the searchable database on the execution of payments from the single state budget account is a major step forward in the area of access to information and would even be transformative if certain technical issues were improved. For more details on this, see the 2014–2015 IRM midterm report.

Carried forward?

The next action has not been drafted or released by the government in accordance with the OGP schedule.

The IRM researcher recommends further work on the implementation of milestones 4.1, 4.2, and 4.3. These milestones commit to providing information on several different aspects of economic and budgetary data. It may facilitate the implementation of the next action plan if:

●  Considering the personnel and financial constraints of the Ministry of Finance, only the activities which are realistic in scope are included in the next action plan, so progress is achieved through smaller but more achievable steps;

●  This complex commitment is revised to consist only of the activities that were not implemented in the assessed period, while leaving out activities that are a regular part of the work done by the Ministry of Finance; and

●  Activities are added, as suggested by the interviewed stakeholders, to increase administrative capacity (e.g., education of existing employees, new employment, partnering with civil society organisations on projects and other activities, a more mobile and flexible organisation of work, etc.) An effort can then be made to involve other competent actors in the implementation of the OGP action plan activities or to adjust the level of ambition to the existing capacities (next action plan);

●  The data available was published in a format other than PDF in order to facilitate the reuse and additional analysis by researchers and other interested audiences. In addition, citizens are certainly interested in budgetary documents, but special effort needs to be made in clarifying and simplifying the manner in which they are delivered; and

●  The new commitments include public reporting mechanisms and feedback mechanisms for citizens to monitor and challenge budget allocations.

The IRM researcher also recommends improving the self-reporting process of the Ministry of Finance so that the challenges in implementation are clearly identified and articulated in the form of lessons learned and recommendations for the next action plan.

The researcher also recommends that work be continued on improving the database for milestone 4.5 (e.g., setting a new activity in the next action plan in order to build on existing implementation of the milestone):

●  Amend the existing database in order to increase searchability of data. Consider using the following parameters: name of the supplier, year (all data pertaining to a year), etc.;

●  Include data on the 17 largest public bodies and extra budgetary users that are not included in the existing database, if technically and financially possible, as well as data on suppliers who are physical persons; and

●  Include an analysis of the data, such as a “top list” of suppliers.


Croatia's Commitments

  1. Implementing Right to Information

    HR0026, 2018, Capacity Building

  2. Fiscal Transparency

    HR0027, 2018, E-Government

  3. Political Finance Transparency

    HR0028, 2018, Capacity Building

  4. Commercial regulations of companies owning local governments

    HR0029, 2018, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  5. Transparency in NGO project finance

    HR0030, 2018, Capacity Building

  6. Protection of Persons Reporting Corruption

    HR0031, 2018, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  7. Parliamentary transparency

    HR0032, 2018, E-Government

  8. Media regulations framework

    HR0033, 2018, Civic Space

  9. Data Opening

    HR0034, 2018, E-Government

  10. Raising awareness about open data

    HR0035, 2018, Capacity Building

  11. Central state portal

    HR0036, 2018, E-Government

  12. public consultations

    HR0037, 2018, Capacity Building

  13. implementation of anti-corruption policies by NGOs

    HR0038, 2018, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  14. local and regional open government

    HR0039, 2018, E-Government

  15. OGP sustainability

    HR0040, 2018, Capacity Building

  16. Right to Access Information Legislative Framework

    HR0010, 2014, Legislation & Regulation

  17. Improving the Implementation of the Right of Access to Information Act

    HR0011, 2014, Capacity Building

  18. Starred commitment Proactive Release of Information and Opening Data

    HR0012, 2014, Capacity Building

  19. Fiscal Transparency

    HR0013, 2014, Capacity Building

  20. Starred commitment Improvements of Transparency and Efficiency in Public Administration Work

    HR0014, 2014, Capacity Building

  21. Improvement of Transparency of Election and Referendum Campaigns

    HR0015, 2014, E-Government

  22. Transparency in the Area of Youth Policy

    HR0016, 2014, E-Government

  23. Media Transparency

    HR0017, 2014, Civic Space

  24. Improving Transparency of Information on Members of Parliament and Their Work

    HR0018, 2014, Asset Disclosure

  25. Improving Transparency of Data on Assets of Officials

    HR0019, 2014, Asset Disclosure

  26. Starred commitment Improving the Consultation Process with the Interested Public in Legislative Procedures

    HR0020, 2014, Capacity Building

  27. Ensuring the Sustainability of Values and Content of the OGP Initiative

    HR0021, 2014, Capacity Building

  28. Starred commitment Participation in Drafting the New Anti-Corruption Strategy

    HR0022, 2014, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  29. Regulation of Lobbying

    HR0023, 2014, Capacity Building

  30. Improving Efficiency of the Ministry of Interior's Complaints Commission

    HR0024, 2014, Justice

  31. Promoting Civil Participation in the Work of Civil Society Organizations

    HR0025, 2014, Civic Space

  32. Improving the Content and Transparency of Budgetary Documents: Publish and update the state budget proposal

    HR0001, 2012, Fiscal Transparency

  33. Improving Transparency of Business Activity of The Companies Of Special State Interest

    HR0002, 2012, Private Sector

  34. Making The Contents of All Budgetary Documents Understandable And Accessible To Citizens

    HR0003, 2012, Fiscal Transparency

  35. Improving Accessibility of Local Budget Contents to the Citizens and the Public: Give recommendations to local units to publish budget documents

    HR0004, 2012, Fiscal Transparency

  36. Starred commitment Improving the Legislative Framework for Exercising the Right of Access to Information: Amend the Act on the Right of Access to Information

    HR0005, 2012, Legislation & Regulation

  37. Starred commitment Improving Access to Information on Expending Public Resources and Contents of Relevant Registers: Implementation of acts on political activity and campaign financing

    HR0006, 2012, Civic Space

  38. Ensuring Transparent Work of Public Authority Bodies In The Service Of Exercising Citizen Rights: Enhancement of web portal with info on exercising rights

    HR0007, 2012, E-Government

  39. Starred commitment Setting up a System of Participatory Drafting and Monitoring of State and Local Budget Implementation: Public discussions on budget allocation

    HR0008, 2012, Participation in Budget Processes

  40. Starred commitment Improving the Practice of Consulting the Interested Public in Procedures of Adopting New Laws: Amend procedural rules

    HR0009, 2012, E-Government