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Croatia

Fiscal Transparency (HR0027)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Croatia Action Plan 2018-2020

Action Plan Cycle: 2018

Status: Active

Institutions

Lead Institution: Ministry of Finance

Support Institution(s): Fina, Open Spending Project Team

Policy Areas

E-Government, Fiscal Transparency, Open Data

IRM Review

IRM Report: Croatia Design Report 2018-2020

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: Pending IRM Review

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information , Technology

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion: Pending IRM Review

Description

Measure 2. FISCAL TRANSPARENCY
Implementation of the measure is under way and will be conducted until 21 August 2020
Leader of the measure MINISTRY OF FINANCE
Description of the measure
Which public issue does the measure address? Budget transparency implies that citizens are able to gain budget
information which is full, essential, accurate, timely, and presented in
an understandable way. Budget transparency contributes to the better
management of budget funds and enables citizens to call the authorities
to account, thus increasing confidence in political processes. Apart from
the positive effects on good management, budget transparency also
results in considerable financial benefits for the state. Research has
shown that countries with transparent budgets have better access to
international financial markets and lower borrowing costs. Fiscal data
19
must be made more accessible to the public and published in open
format. In addition, since the publication of databases on payments
executed from the single State Budget account, it has been noted that
improvements need to be made in order to provide better search options
and download data in machine-readable form.
What does the measure include? The main goal of the measure is to increase fiscal transparency,
primarily by the timely publication and opening of fiscal data for reuse.
The measure includes several activities which will guarantee the
regular publication of accurate, relevant information on fiscal data and
the option to download them for reuse.
How does the measure contribute to resolving the public
issue?
The measure contributes to resolving the issue of the timely
publication of data in open format.
Why is this measure relevant to the values of the Open
Government Partnership?
The measure is relevant in terms of transparency, since it increases
fiscal transparency, thus enabling citizens to participate more easily in
budget processes (which should result in the more efficient provision
of public services). In addition, the measure is relevant in regard to the
issue of public accountability, because by increasing budget
transparency and the entire budget process further, opportunities will
arise to assess the accountability of civil servants and officials
regarding the conduct of public policies within their competences.
Additional information Resources for the implementation of the measure have been assured
in the State Budget, section 025 Ministry of Finance, activity A538000
Administration and Management.
The measure is in line accompanying the Anti-Corruption Strategy for
2015-2020, in which, among other things, the following measures are
envisaged: Effective management and control of public finances and
effective collection of revenues in the competences of budget
beneficiaries and units of local and regional self-government, and
Strengthening integrity, accountability and transparency in the work of
Ministry of Finance personnel.

IRM Midterm Status Summary

2. Fiscal Transparency

Language of the commitment as it appears in the action plan:

"Measure 2. Fiscal Transparency" [5]

"The main goal of the measure is to increase fiscal transparency, primarily by the timely publication and opening of fiscal data for reuse. The measure includes several activities which will guarantee the regular publication of accurate, relevant information on fiscal data and the option to download them for reuse. (…) Resources for the implementation of the measure have been assured in the State Budget"

Milestones:

2.1. Improving the database on payments executed from the single State Budget account

  • Improving the options for searching the database:
  • By year, quarter, month
  • By budget classification, from levels one to four
  • By the name of the beneficiary, PIN, section/heading number
  • By the name of the supplier of the legal person and OIB of the supplier of the legal person
  • By the name and surname of the supplier of the legal person using another identifier instead of the PIN
  • Downloading data from the database in machine-readable form suitable for reuse enabled
  • Given the size of the database, it cannot be downloaded in full, but by query. The entire database is available on demand and there will be a note to this effect on the Ministry of Finance website
  • CAPTCHA codes removed

2.2. Publishing in a timely manner in one place machine-readable balance sheets of all units of local and regional self-government

  • The balance sheets of units of local and regional self-government published in a timely manner, in one place, and in machine-readable form which is easily searchable

2.3. Publishing a unified, machine-readable archive of the balance sheets of all units of local and regional self-government for the previous five years

  • The balance sheets of all units of local and regional self-government for the previous five years published with the deadline, in one place, in a machine-readable, easily searchable form

2.4. Publishing the draft State Budget in a timely manner, with machine-readable tables

  • By 15 November 2017, a machine-readable draft State Budget was published, with the Statement of Reasons for the State Budget 2018 and projections for 2019 and 2020, that is, for the coming years with the appropriate time periods, supplemented with the pertinent elements, so that it contains the following data or information on where the data can be found:
  • The planned status of public debt for the previous year and public debt projection for the mid-term period;
  • The planned structure of public debt for the budget year and the previous year (domestic and foreign debt, interest rates, settlements, etc.);
  • Information on financial and non-financial state assets (list of assets and values)
  • Information on the effect of various macroeconomic assumptions (such as the inflation rate, level of interest rates and actual GSP) on budget revenues, expenditures and public debt (sensitivity analysis).

2.5. Publishing statistical accounts by the Ministry of Finance with machine-readable tables in a timely manner

  • Statistical accounts with machine-readable tables published in a timely manner

2.6. Publishing a biannual report on the execution of the State Budget (with machine-readable tables) in a timely manner

  • Biannual reports on the execution of the State Budget published in a timely manner, with machine-readable tables, including a review of data on planned values for the current year

2.7. Publishing regularly information on the financial plans and execution of financial plans of public authority bodies at the level of the section of organisational classification on their internet pages in open format for reuse

  • The Ministry of Finance has produced a memorandum on publishing information on the budget and its execution and sent it to state administration bodies and agencies
  • State administration bodies and agencies regular publish on their websites information on the budget, including the fourth level of execution of the budget (annual and biannual) in machine-readable forms suitable for reuse

2.8. Publishing a unified, machine-readable database of financial reports by all budgetary and extra-budgetary beneficiaries

  • Financial reports of all budgetary and extra-budgetary beneficiaries published within the deadline, in one place, in a machine-readable, searchable form

2.9. Presenting budget data with the options of visualisation, searching and downloading data in a machine-readable form

  • On the website of the Ministry of Finance access enabled to an application for viewing budget data with search options. The data can be visualised with several types of graph and in tabular form. Searching is enabled by year and any budget classification. Data can be viewed graphically by classification and arranged in depth by hierarchy. It is possible to download data in a machine-readable form for the entire budget.
  • Data shown via an application developed by the Open Spending Project Team international non-profit organisation Open Knowledge International (OKI) in cooperation with GIFT (Global Initiative for Fiscal Transparency) and the BOOST initiative of the World Bank
  • Data refreshed with every new budget document

Start date: Underway

End date: 21 August 2020

Context and Objectives

For years, fiscal data in Croatia has not been published in easily accessible and understandable formats. Most available data is highly technical and can only be interpreted by experts. Additionally, most of the data does not follow a uniform standard and often, when it includes inputs from public authorities other than the ministries, is not reported to the Ministry of Finance on time, though the Ministry has an obligation to publicly disclose this information.

The main feature of all activities within this commitment is to secure timely and accurate information on state, local, and regional budgets at various stages of the budgetary process (Milestones 2.2−2.7) in a machine-readable, searchable, open, and reusable form. The need for such measures was emphasized as one of the most important issues in the previous IRM report. [6] Other milestones relate to improving the available database on payments from the state budget account (2.1) and creating an application to enable the search and visualization of available data in graph form to help citizens navigate published documents (2.8). [7]

The commitment both repeats milestones from the previous OGP action plan, [8] with significant additions regarding the use of open formats (2.3−2.5) and introduces new milestones (2.2 and 2.6−2.8). It is also in line with the Anti-Corruption Strategy 2015-2020. [9] The Budget Act [10] already mandates most of the commitment activities, along with the calendar of their implementation. After a slight improvement Croatia demonstrated between 2010 and 2012, the 2015 OBI Survey [11] saw a sharp decline, indicating that the Ministry of Finance limited itself to traditional forms of financial transparency.

This commitment’s indicators are specific enough to be verifiable, and each milestone is relevant to the values of access to information and technology and innovation. Namely, the commitment reflects the Ministry of Finance’s intent to improve on identified problems, such as the lack of relevant data, data that cannot be reused, data that is overly complex and technically demanding for the average citizen, insufficient budget-related information for certain levels of government (e.g., local and regional budgets), and shortcomings of the publicly searchable database on payments from the single state budget account. [12] According to stakeholders, this is important for meeting the 5th Star for Open Data design. [13] The commitment has a transformative potential impact as it is the first time the methodology and technology described in Milestone 2.8 has been used by the Ministry of Finance (Open Spending application [14]), and the first time comprehensive data on local and regional self-governments’ spending [15] will be available in an open format (2.2).

Both public and civil sector stakeholders from the OGP Council were enthusiastic about this commitment, believing that its measures were highly important in providing a basis for transparency in other important areas. Non-governmental actors are also participants in implementing the measures, due to the "Open Data Budgeting" joint project. [16] This will help alleviate the workload for the Ministry of Finance.

Next steps

The IRM researcher recommends the government consider the following activities in implementing this commitment:

  • Strive to reach the 5th star-level of data design when publishing data for reuse;
  • Increase administrative capacity, e.g., education of existing employees, recruitment of new staff, partnering with CSOs in projects and other activities, more mobile and flexible organization of work, etc.;
  • Improve the user-friendliness of the website of the Ministry of Finance or consider exporting the published data into a separate repository, making it easier to navigate; and
  • Provide a mechanism for ensuring that citizens can give feedback or even collaborate in disclosing more data and in making the existing data more useful.
[5] Editorial note: The text contained herein is the abridged version of the commitment. The full text is available at: Action Plan for Implementation of the Open Government Partnership Initiative in the Republic of Croatia up to 2020 (OGP, Dec. 2018) 18−25, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Croatia_Action-Plan_2018-2020_EN.pdf. [6] Ivona Mendeš, Croatia: 2014–2016 End-of-term Report (2017) 22−27 (Commitment 4), http://www.opengovpartnership.org/sites/default/files/Croatia_EOTR_2014-2016_for-pub-comment_ENG.pdf. [7] The Global Initiative for Fiscal Transparency (GIFT) is a global network that facilitates dialogue between governments, CSOs, international financial institutions, and other stakeholders to find and share solutions to challenges in fiscal transparency and participation (http://www.fiscaltransparency.net/). For more information on the principles of public participation, fiscal transparency, and accountability, see Branko Stanić, "Globalna inicijativa za fiskalnu transparentnost: Načela sudjelovanja javnosti u fiskalnoj politici," Newsletter Povremeno Glasilo Instituta za Javne Financije 110 (Institute for Public Finance, 2017), http://www.ijf.hr/upload/files/110.pdf; see also Branko Stanić, "Globalna inicijativa za fiskalnu transparentnost: Načela visoke razine fiskalne transparentnosti, sudjelovanja i odgovornosti," Newsletter Povremeno Glasilo Instituta za Javne Financije 109 (Institute for Public Finance, March 2017), http://www.ijf.hr/upload/files/109.pdf. [8] Government of the Republic of Croatia, Action Plan for Implementation of the Open Government Partnership Initiative in the Republic of Croatia for the Period 2014 to 2016 (OGP, Jul. 2014) 17−20 (Measure 4), https://www.opengovpartnership.org/sites/default/files/Action%20Plan-OGP-8-7-2014-final-ENG.pdf. [9] Croatian Parliament, "Anti-Corruption Strategy from 2015-2020" (Narodne novine, 9 Mar. 2015) §5.2.3 ("Public Finance") §5.1.1 ("Integrity in the political system and administration" Measure 2), https://narodne-novine.nn.hr/clanci/sluzbeni/2015_03_26_545.html. [10] Consolidated text of the law (Croatia),"Budget Law," Official Gazette 87/08, 136/12, 15/15 (Narodne novine, 14 Feb. 2015) https://www.zakon.hr/z/283/Zakon-o-prora%C4%8Dunu. [11] The Open Budget Index is an independent, comparative measure of central government budget transparency. The Index assigns countries covered by the Open Budget Survey a transparency score on a 100-point scale using a subset of questions that assess the amount and timeliness of budget information that governments make publicly available in eight key budget documents in accordance with international good practice standards. The Open Budget Index 2017 showed a modest decline in average global budget transparency scores, from 45 in 2015 to 43 in 2017 for the 102 countries that were surveyed in both rounds. This decline is in stark contrast to the average increase of roughly two points documented in each round of the survey between 2008 and 2015. Countries that score above 60 on the OBI are considered to provide sufficient budget information to enable the public to engage in budget discussions in an informed manner. Countries scoring above 60 on participation and oversight provide adequate opportunities for the public to participate in the budget process and providing adequate oversight practices, respectively. "Croatia," The Open Budget Survey 2017: Global report (International Budget Partnership, 30 Jan. 2018), https://www.internationalbudget.org/wp-content/uploads/croatia-open-budget-survey-2017-summary.pdfhttps://www.internationalbudget.org/open-budget-survey/open-budget-index-rankings/); "Croatia" (International Budget Partnership, 8 Sept. 2015), https://www.internationalbudget.org/summaries/croatia-5/; and "Croatia Open Budget Survey 2017" (International Budget Partnership, accessed Mar. 2019), https://www.internationalbudget.org/open-budget-survey/results-by-country/country-info/?country=hr; Mihaela Bronić and Josip Franić "Otvorenost državnog proračuna – unatoč blagom poboljšanju, građani i dalje imaju ograničen uvid u proračunske informacije," Aktualni Osvrti 102 (Institute for Public Finance, 30 Jan. 2018), http://www.ijf.hr/upload/files/1021.pdf. [12] "Inquiry about payments from the State Budget by suppliers" (Ministry of Finance, accessed Mar. 2019), http://www.mfin.hr/hr/upit-po-dobavljacima.This milestone will be implemented through the "More effective financial and statistical reporting system" project of the Ministry of Finance, 1 January 2018–31 December 2019, (http://www.mfin.hr/hr/ucinkovitiji-sustav-financijskog-i-statistickog-izvjestavanja); see also http://www.mfin.hr/adminmax/docs/Ucinkovitiji%20sustav%20financijskog%20i%20statistickog%20izvjestavanja%20letak.pdf. [13] "5 Star Open Data Design" (James G. Kim and Michael Hausenblas, 31 Aug. 2015), http://5stardata.info/. [14] Cecile Le Guen, "What is Open Spending?" (Open Knowledge, accessed Mar. 2019) http://www.fiscaltransparency.net/presentations/Day3_Session1_WhatIsOpenDataAndIntlPerspectives_OpenKnowledge.pdf. [15] For more information on subnational budget transparency in Croatia, see Branko Stanić, "Determinants of subnational budget/fiscal transparency: a review of empirical evidence," Public Sector Economics vol. 42 issue 4 449-486 (Institute of Public Finance, 14 Dec. 2018), http://www.pse-journal.hr/en/archive/determinants-of-subnational-budget-fiscal-transparency-a-review-of-empirical-evidence_3307/; Katarina Ott and Mihaela Bronić, "Proračunska transparentnost lokalnih jedinica – stavovi zaposlenika," Newsletter of the Institute for Public Finance, no. 111 (Institute of Public Finance, Mar. 2017), http://www.ijf.hr/upload/files/111.pdf; and Katarina Ott et al., "Proračunska transparentnost županija, gradova i općina: studeni 2017. – ožujak 2018," Newsletter of the Institute for Public Finance, no. 115 (Institute of Public Finance, Jul. 2018), http://www.ijf.hr/upload/files/115.pdf. [16] The launch of the project, in cooperation with the Institute for Public Finance (http://www.ijf.hr/), will be organized in July 2019. Ministry of Finance and IPF representative, at OGP Council meeting, Mar. 2019. 

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