Thursday, September 8, 2011

Irish Fiscal Advisory Council

The government announced the establishment of the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council (IFAC) on July 7, 2011. The IFAC is mandated to provide an assessment of:
(i) the soundness of official macro-fiscal forecasts;
(ii) the appropriateness of the fiscal stance (including the government’s stated medium-term budgetary objective); and
(iii) the consistency between budgetary plans and fiscal rules (the latter are to be specified in a Fiscal Responsibility Bill by year-end).

The IFAC will submit, at least three times a year, written reports to the Minister for Finance, which will automatically be communicated to the Oireachtas within 24 hours. This effectively means that the IFAC’s reports are published with the Minister having advance notice of their content. There are no restrictions, otherwise, on the Council’s communication with the public.

The IFAC comprises five members, appointed by the Minister for Finance for initial tenures of two to four years. The members will serve in a voluntary capacity, assisted by a small secretariat including full-time economist staff. The Council has been allocated initial funding for the remainder of 2011.

Among the range of fiscal councils in Europe, the IFAC appears most similar to the Swedish Fiscal Policy Council, both in terms of mandate and funding. For instance, the IFAC is charged with assessing, rather than producing, the official macro-fiscal forecasts, which explains its relatively modest resources compared with say, the U.K.’s Office for Budget Responsibility
-Ireland: Third Review Under the Extended Arrangement - Staff Report

No comments: