Business leaders and civil society groups
yesterday offered visitors to the IDB meeting diametrically opposed views on
how to improve transparency in governments and companies.
Vince McElhinny, Latin America programme
manager at the Bank
said that some progress has been made on transparency, but that much more has
to be done. We can talk about transparency, but many countries still have laws
that do not allow citizens access to basic information, he said.
In Guatemala, he said, there is a
constitutional norm preventing the tax agency from reporting on the amount of
taxes paid by companies and corporations. With laws like these, you cant talk
On the corporate side, Julio Lastres,
senior managing director for the Americas at Darby Overseas
Investment, said that transparency is growing by leaps and bounds. He said
companies are becoming more open by the day, adopting best practices that not
only promote transparency but protect investors.
The Institute of International Finance
(IIF) also took a much more positive view of recent changes. There are
countries such as Brazil and
that have made important progress. This is very important, because a lack of
transparency has hurt them [in the past], IIF chief economist Yusuke Horiguchi
told Emerging Markets.
The IIF this month published a ranking of
data transparency in the region. The investor relations office in Brazils
Central Bank helped the country to become the first to score 38 out of 38 in the ranking, which
includes categories such as macroeconomic data presented in a market-friendly
format, and providing for investor feedback.
Other high scorers are Mexico, with 34, and Peru, with 32. The lowest score was
for the Dominican Republic,
with 2, and Ecuador,
Julio Velarde, president of Perus Central
Bank, said transparency is an ingredient in maintaining sustained growth
regionally. Markets react positively when a central bank is open with its data
and provides information as rapidly and accurately as possible, he said.
Central Bank publishes the amount of dollars it purchases on the market not on
a weekly or monthly basis, but every day at 2 pm.