Sustainable fiscal policy builds on reliable fiscal data

In an event organised in connection with the Finnish EU Presidency, supreme audit and statistics authorities discussed their shared means for ensuring the reliability of fiscal data.

In a changing world, it is increasingly important to retain confidence in government information and ensure that fiscal data is reliable. Unreliable and incomplete statistical data caused problems in the recent past, during the euro crisis. In a seminar organised by the National Audit Office of Finland (NAOF) and Statistics Finland on 28 November, international audit and statistics authorities discussed the significance of reliable data in the steering and monitoring of general government finances.

“It is important for the planning and implementation of sound fiscal policy that the authorities ensure the reliability of both the accounting and statistical data on public finances and the economic forecasts based on them,” says Matti Okko, Director at the NAOF.

According to Tytti Yli-Viikari, Auditor General of Finland, the European supreme audit and statistics authorities must provide citizens and decision-makers with reliable and substantiated information in a world where a great deal of unreliable and contradictory information is being spread. The reliability of fiscal data can be ensured, for example, by common guidelines, regulation, monitoring, and external audit.

“Fiscal sustainability is built on reliable authorities, robust data, and reasonable fiscal policy rules. However, what is needed in addition to them is market discipline,” said Martti Hetemäki, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance, in his opening address.

Efforts for reliable fiscal data are made both at the international and national level.

“In recent years, the EU has increased its efforts in guidelines and monitoring related to statistics and fiscal policy regulation. However, the responsibility for reliable data and sustainable decisions lies with each Member State,” said Olli Rehn in the key note speech of the seminar. Olli Rehn is the Governor of the Bank of Finland, and he served as a European Commissioner during the euro crisis.

The seminar entitled Building Trust was organised by the NAOF and Statistics Finland at Finlandia Hall on 28 November 2019 as part of the programme of the Finnish EU Presidency. The participants in the event included the Supreme Audit Institutions of the EU countries, the Finnish and Greek statistics authorities, and representatives of the Finnish central government. Speakers at the event included Marjo Bruun,Director General of Statistics Finland,  Mariana Kotzeva, Director General of Eurostat, Delphine Moretti, a policy analyst of the OECD, and Athanasios C. Thanopoulos, President of the Hellenic Statistical Authority.

View the materials of the event.

View the discussion on the event on Twitter: #BuildingTrust2019.