A Handbook on Public Debt Transparency

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A Handbook on Public Debt Transparency, produced by the Commonwealth Secretariat’s Debt Management Unit, provides a practical blueprint to assist debt managers and stakeholders to improve transparency in debt management operations through the implementation of a wide range of activities.
The Handbook provides information on key debt transparency issues relevant to both developing and advanced economies based on the Commonwealth Secretariat’s long history of providing technical assistance and capacity-building to debt managers, senior officials and policy-makers in member countries and for stakeholders. The Commonwealth Secretariat’s debt management programme strives to promote sound practices in debt management, including the provisioning of a debt management system since 1983. The Commonwealth Secretariat Debt Recording and Management System (CS-DRMS), an integrated tool for recording, analysing and reporting public sector debt, has evolved into the flagship Commonwealth Meridian, a comprehensive solution that promotes effective and proactive debt management.

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Transparency is one of the major anchors of debt sustainability, ensuring that all stakeholders, including policy-makers, creditors and investors, can take optimal decisions on a country’s debt obligations, based on fully disclosed, reliable and timely information. The issue of debt transparency became more prominent following the discovery of hidden debts in some debtor countries, and the increasing diversity and complexity of debt structures in recent years has renewed the interest of various stakeholder groups in greater
transparency pertaining to debt information to make effective economic and financial decisions. Greater openness in the debt cycle and timely reporting of debt are of paramount importance in transparent debt practices.