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With objectives as far-reaching as ending poverty in all its forms and delivering quality education to all by 2030, the Sustainable Development Goals are highly ambitious -- much more ambitious than their predecessor, the Millennium Development Goals.Tax collection is a big challenge for these economies: the tax revenues low-income countries collect amount to about 10 percent to 20 percent of GDP, on average, compared to about 40 percent of GDP in high-income countries.Add to that poor management of what is collected, and these countries consistently fail to deliver needed public goods and services, let alone ensure fiscal sustainability.Governments with credible, institutionalized systems of checks and balances tend not only to collect more tax revenues, but also to have more transparent and predictable budgetary processes.In a well-functioning parliamentary system, for example, the state budget is overseen by a group of elected authorities in a relatively transparent manner. No one person has the power to shape the process in self-serving ways. Such changes would also raise the quality of fiscal planning -- the accuracy of revenue forecasts and the effectiveness of budget implementation and debt management -- above the global average.
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