August 26, 2016

Organization of Central Finance Functions in Sub-Saharan Africa

Logo_afritac_south Headlights_afritac_south

Posted by Peter Murphy and Richard Allen[1]

The IMF’s Regional Technical Assistance Center for Southern Africa—AFRITAC South (AFS)—organized a one-week seminar on the Organization of Central Finance Functions at the Africa Training Institute in Mauritius from August 15-19, 2016. The seminar was attended by 37 participants from 12 countries[2]. The presenters and facilitators were Peter Murphy (AFS, IMF), Richard Allen (Fiscal Affairs Department, IMF), Renaud Duplay (Ministry of Finance, France), and Francois Vaillancourt (University of Montreal, Canada). The program for the seminar together with relevant materials may be viewed at www.southafritac.org

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August 23, 2016

Cash Basis IPSAS Needs to be More Ambitious

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Posted by Andy Wynne[1]

The IPSAS Board has issued an exposure draft to revise its Cash Basis IPSAS and comments were being requested by end July:

http://www.ifac.org/publications-resources/exposure-draft-61-amendments-financial-reporting-under-cash-basis-accounting

Late comments are still welcome, however, and this article could be considered my informal submission. As a PFM practitioner in Africa and elsewhere I have worked on accounting reforms that are both achievable and of practical use. The proposed revised Cash Basis IPSAS is feasible, but does not add much for informing policy makers or providing accountability to the public. The initiative to amend the present standard is indeed welcome, but more is needed to make the standard a useful guide to good practice. Below we provide some comments on how the revised Cash Basis IPSAS could be improved.

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August 17, 2016

How to Link SDGs to the Budget

SDGs and the Budget

Posted by Suren Poghosyan[1]

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were critical in presenting a global policy agenda with country-specific targets. MDG processes, however, were not well coordinated with countries’ national policies and budget processes. Ministries of finance were detached from the core dialog on MDGs, and there was a mismatch between the MDGs and budget classification systems. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have replaced the MDGs with a more comprehensive policy agenda that now covers all countries. Developing countries, however, will face challenges in effectively transforming the SDGs into national policies and budgets. How therefore to build a stronger bridge between the SDGs and countries’ budget processes?

Even if development goals are effectively transformed into sector strategies, budget decisions are based on their own set of processes and parameters. Some reports suggest that the UN’s functional classification system (COFOG) has been used to bridge budget allocations with the MDGs, but COFOG was never designed to serve that purpose. In some countries, civil society organizations (CSOs) have monitored the impact of selected MDGs on the budget. However, in most cases, finance ministries have continued their routine budget planning and execution processes with only occasional reflections on the MDG targets.

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August 15, 2016

Job Offers: UNICEF New York Seeks Public Finance Specialist

Unicef

Posted by Matthew Cummins [1]

UNICEF Headquarters in New York is looking for a Public Finance Specialist to join its Public Finance and Governance Team.

The purpose of the position is to support UNICEF country and regional offices in their efforts to leverage greater, more effective and equitable domestic public investments in children. This role will provide technical, knowledge management and staff capacity development support to UNICEF field engagements in the area of public finance for children (PF4C) across all sectors, with specific attention to the health programmatic context.

The complete details and application process can be found through this link: http://www.unicef.org/about/employ/?job=498454

Note that the deadline to apply is August 24, 2016.

[1] Matthew Cummins is a Policy Specialist in the Public Finance and Governance Unit, UNICEF New York

Please check in with the PFM Blog's Job Board Page frequently to learn about the latest opportunities for PFM positions. 

August 08, 2016

Job Offers: Regional Public Financial Management Advisor for South Asia, based in New Delhi, India

Job Number:1600720

Advertising Department: Fiscal Affairs Department

Description

The Fiscal Affairs Department of the International Monetary Fund is seeking two experienced public financial management (PFM) experts for the IMF’s South Asia Training and Technical Assistance Center (SARTTAC) that will start its operations in early 2017. SARTTAC to be located in New Delhi, India will provide training and technical assistance support to six South Asian countries – Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. The advisors will coordinate and deliver technical assistance (TA) to ministries of finance and related institutions in these countries, including the sub-national level in India. They will support modernization of fiscal management, budget planning and execution, and institutional capacity development in these countries. The advisors will need to liaise effectively both with senior officials, technical staff, and other TA providers. The advisors will be appointed for and initial period of one year, with possible renewal for a maximum period of four years. They will work under the administrative control of the SARTTAC Director and technical supervision of the Fiscal Affairs Department.

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Latin American Treasurers Discuss Fiscal Forecasts

FOTEGAL

Posted by Mario Pessoa[1]

During July 27-29, 2016 the Paraguayan Ministry of Finance organized the seventh Latin American Treasury Forum (FOTEGAL) together with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and the World Bank. FOTEGAL aims at providing a permanent regional dialogue for technical discussions and exchange of experiences among national treasurers. The annual seminar has been a key component of the IMF’s technical assistance program and a testimony of significant improvements in treasury management in Latin America.

The Minister of Finance of Paraguay, Mr. Santiago Peña, in his opening remarks emphasized that public finances are related not only to financial stability but also provide a tool to promote growth and development. In a country such as Paraguay with significant development needs, it is important to use public resources wisely. The Minister mentioned that the fiscal rules approved in 2013 had improved the reliability of fiscal policy, and highlighted the country’s efforts to increase public investment to promote development and benefit the population.

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August 02, 2016

Estimating the Public Capital Stock in Post-Conflict Countries

Estimating the Public Capital Stock in Post-Conflict Countries

Posted by Yugo Koshima[1]

In order to analyze the efficiency and effectiveness of public investment – and the size of any “infrastructure gap” – it is necessary to estimate the public sector capital stock. This is not an easy task even in a country with plentiful access to national accounts and other statistical data. For a country that is still recovering from two bitter civil wars that lasted from 1989 until 2003, together with the devastating impact of the Ebola crisis, the challenges are formidable.

Recently, the IMF’s Fiscal Affairs Department was invited by the Government of Liberia to carry out a Public Investment Management Assessment (PIMA) of the country. One of the tasks of the mission was to estimate Liberia’s stock of infrastructure and other public capital assets, and the efficiency of its investment in key areas such as electricity supply, health, education and water. The mission used an analytical framework set out in the IMF Board Paper (“Making Public Investment More Efficient”) that was published in April 2015. This paper sets out a relatively simple methodology for estimating the public capital stock and measuring public investment efficiency. The methodology is applicable to countries with limited statistical data, as well as more advanced economies. What were the challenges that we faced in applying this methodology to Liberia, and how did we address them?

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July 20, 2016

Managing the Wage Bill in Southern Africa

AFRITAC South

Posted by Imran Aziz[1]

AFRITAC South[2], in collaboration with the Fiscal Affairs Department of the IMF, held a regional seminar on Government Compensation and Employment from June 20 to 23, 2016.  The event was hosted by the Africa Training Institute in Mauritius, and brought together government officials from Botswana, Comoros, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The seminar focused on the conceptual framework presented in the IMF’s recently published board paper “Managing Government Compensation and Employment – Institutions, Policies, and Reform Challenges”. The lectures and group sessions were structured on strengthening the key institutions that underpin the effective management of wage bill spending. A well-designed system requires adequate fiscal planning to ensure appropriate financing of the wage bill, competitive compensation to attract and retain skilled staff and incentivize performance, and the flexibility to adjust the level and compensation of employment to reach efficient levels.  

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July 14, 2016

Accrual Budgeting in Kazakhstan

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Posted by John Zohrab[1]

From the perspective of fiscal transparency, accrual budgeting (AB) is superior to cash budgeting, because it facilitates the management of the budget in terms of the full resource implications of policies and programs and provides a much wider set of fiscal indicators. A cash budget is managed in terms of cash flows and balances whereas, in addition, an accrual budget takes into account accrued expenses and revenues, as well as the full range of assets, and liabilities and net worth.[2]

However, implementing AB is generally perceived to entail risks and complexities. This is presumably why, starting in 1989, only a handful of countries have so far implemented it in central government: Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Iceland, New Zealand, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. It is also presumably why most countries prefer to stick with cash budgeting. So why is Kazakhstan considering the introduction of AB?[3]

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June 28, 2016

How National Audit Offices Can Support Implementation of the SDGs

SDG

Posted by Gijs de Vries [1]

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide an ambitious roadmap to a fairer and more equitable world. To turn these goals into reality governments across the world will have to put them at the heart of their action. Governments will also have to put their money where their mouth is. National budgets need to be adapted to the task: revenue and expenditure will have to be managed more effectively and transparently. And national accountability institutions will have to step up to the plate.

Funding the SDGs will be costly, with incremental financing needs in low- and lower-middle-income countries estimated at $1.4 trillion. Much of this money will have to come from the public sector, whether through official development assistance (ODA) or via domestic resource mobilization in developing countries, where governments will have to collect more and spend better. Many countries suffer from weak public financial management (PFM) and inadequate public service delivery.  

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