May 22, 2018

Invitation to join PEFA Training in Vienna on June 19-21, 2018

Posted by PEFA Secretariat

Fleming’s Conference Hotel, Wien
Neubaugürtel 26-28, 1070 Wien, Austria

The PEFA Secretariat is pleased to announce that it will be conducting a regional PEFA training event in Vienna, Austria from June 19-21, 2018.  The training is intended for government officials and staff of development partners involved in planning, managing or undertaking a PEFA assessment and/or public financial management (PFM) reform strategies or initiatives, as well as researchers and other PEFA users. 

The training program will provide participants with an overview of the upgraded PEFA 2016 framework for assessing countries’ PFM performance; set out the phases, steps, tasks and responsibilities in planning and managing a typical PEFA assessment process; and provide guidance on how to use the results of a PEFA assessment to inform and support PFM reform efforts.

The program will include practical ‘hands-on’ exercises using interactive case studies to build and/or strengthen knowledge on the planning, implementation, and use of PEFA 2016.

At the end of the training, participants will have:

  • Improved their understanding of the PEFA 2016 framework;
  • Strengthened their capacities to engage in, and support, the PEFA assessment process;
  • Increased their skills in applying PEFA performance indicators and preparing high quality PEFA reports;
  • Improved their confidence in discussing assessment findings and possible reform implications;
  • Increased their understanding in use PEFA assessment results to support PFM reform design, implementation, and monitoring; and
  • Learned about PEFA products and how best to use them.

This training will be conducted in English only.  Please note that there are a limited number of spaces available so it is recommended that you register your interest as soon as possible. In the event the training is oversubscribed, priority for attendance will be decided by the PEFA Secretariat.

To view the full Agenda click here

To register your interest please send an email to

Note: The posts on the IMF PFM Blog should not be reported as representing the views of the IMF. The views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the IMF or IMF policy.


May 21, 2018

Spending Reviews in the Catalan Government

Posted by Jordi Baños-Rovira, Esther Pallarols-Llinàs, and Anna Tarrach-Colls[1]

Although it successfully met its target for the 2017 fiscal deficit (0.6 percent of GDP) and for stabilizing debt (around 35 percent of GDP), the Catalan government still faces high risks of fiscal unsustainability. Looking forward, the government needs to rebalance the public finances and continue to meet its fiscal targets, while at the same time developing new policies to restrict public spending growth. Such restrictions will be challenging to achieve given the recent introduction of expensive social programs (a basic income for citizens) and the effect of an ageing population on health and social care services. To help meet these challenges and generate fiscal space, the government announced in the Budget Act 2017 a program of public spending reviews for the period 2017-2020.

In developing this program, the government took account of international experience of spending reviews, as well as lessons learned from its own performance budgeting and medium-term budgeting initiatives, which are still under development. It was decided that spending reviews should be conducted annually, be selective (not comprehensive), focus on the program level, and combine strategic review with analysis of the efficiency of spending. It was also decided that the reviews would be carried out by teams comprising officials from both the central budget office and line ministries, and that most of the savings identified through the reviews should be returned to the line ministries.

To test the methodology and procedures for spending reviews, a pilot project was conducted during 2017. The pilot reviewed the penitentiary services and alternative penal measures program of the Department of Justice. This program received a budget allocation of €402.3 million in 2017, and covers 5,311 employees, 13 penitentiary centers, 8,566 inmates, and 13,763 people on alternative penal measures. To conduct the pilot, more than 62 documents and large data were analyzed, and many meetings were held with program directors and managers. Budget office personnel dedicated more than 1,800 working hours to the project. 

The pilot spending review generated 35 recommendations, principally on the general management of the program (comprising more than half of the recommendations) and the efficiency of expenditures. Identified savings amounted to around 5 percent of program expenditures. The government intends to implement the recommendations of the pilot in its next budget. A positive outcome of the exercise for the Department of Justice was to increase their awareness of the benefits to be gained from a detailed evaluation of spending programs, processes, and costs, and the need for robust planning and monitoring systems. The pilot also exposed some data limitations, and the absence of a consistent cost accounting system in the Department of Justice.

The government intends to use the lessons of the pilot project to make improvements in the methodology and procedures for the next round of spending reviews. Additional time will be allowed to undertake the reviews, and better planning, management, and monitoring of the outputs of the exercise will be required. Additional guidance will be provided to staff involved in the exercise, and the role of internal peer review will be enhanced. There is also a need to improve the analytical skills of staff involved in the working groups, the organization of meetings, and internal communications.

Six new spending reviews are planned for fiscal year 2018. These reviews will cover spending programs on general management and administration, the regulation and promotion of tourism, sports, housing, student grants and subsidies, and public transport.

To conclude, the Catalan spending review initiative has demonstrated its potential as a tool to generate fiscal space and improve the value for money of public spending. More work is needed, however, to improve the organization and management of spending reviews, and ensure that the identified savings are realized.

Further information may be found on the following website:

[1] Jordi Baños-Rovira is Head of Economic Evaluation at the Catalan Government, and a lecturer at the University of Barcelona; Esther Pallarols-Llinàs is Deputy Director of Expenditure Analysis and Monitoring at the Catalan Government; and Anna Tarrach-Colls is the Budget Director of the Catalan Government.

Note: The posts on the IMF PFM Blog should not be reported as representing the views of the IMF. The views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the IMF or IMF policy.


May 14, 2018

Stocktake of PFM Diagnostic Tools

Posted by the PEFA Secretariat

The PEFA Secretariat has just published a report that takes stock of the PFM Diagnostic Tools in use as of 2016. The report incorporates feedback following the publication of a consultation draft in 2017. The main objective of the report is to provide governments and their development partners with information to support selection of assessment tools that fits their needs.  A companion guide has been prepared to provide an easy overview of the range of the PFM diagnostic tools.

Continue reading " Stocktake of PFM Diagnostic Tools " »

May 10, 2018

Improving Public Investment Management in Mali

PIMa Mali
Posted by Benoit Taiclet, Gwénaëlle Suc, Nicolas Botton, Fabienne Mroczka, Onintsoa Raoilisoa, Pierre Roumegas, and Yemdaogo Tougma

Public investment is instrumental to achieve development objectives, particularly so in fragile and post-conflict countries which very often have rudimentary, or damaged infrastructure.
Although a key driver for economic growth in Mali, public investment spending has decreased overtime, undermining access to, and the quality of key infrastructure. As a long-standing policy under successive National Development and Poverty Reduction Plans, the Mali government has sought to increase its fiscal space to boost capital spending, as a means of fostering growth and development across the country.

Continue reading " Improving Public Investment Management in Mali" »

May 08, 2018

The Budget Transparency Toolkit

TS_658097678 (002)
 Posted by Ronnie Downes[1]

A new resource, prepared by the OECD in collaboration with other global partners, provides a gateway to international standards and makes it easier for countries to put budget transparency into practice

The budget is a government’s central policy document, which aims to turn plans and aspirations into reality. So says the OECD Recommendation on Budgetary Governance, one of the international standards for public financial management. How the budget and its various trade-offs are managed sends powerful signals, domestically and internationally, about fiscal discipline, efficiency and commitment to achieving results. Poor fiscal management can leave countries vulnerable to shocks, with harmful consequences for citizens and adding to the longer-term costs of public borrowing.

Continue reading " The Budget Transparency Toolkit " »

April 27, 2018

IMF Online PFM Course Open to the General Public

Posted by: Manal Fouad

IMF Online PFM Course
PFMx: May 9 - July 4, 2018
Register by May 2, 2018

 The Fiscal Affairs Department and the Institute for Capacity Development of the IMF are pleased to announce a new offering of the online course on Public Financial Management. This free online course, offered on the edX platform, is open for government officials, development agencies, civil society, parliamentarians, and general public. The total workload is 40-50 hours, self-paced over 8 weeks. Please watch the course introductory video

Continue reading " IMF Online PFM Course Open to the General Public " »

April 23, 2018

2018 Fiscal Transparency Handbook

Fiscal Transparency Handbook Cover Page
Posted by Richard Allen and Sailendra Pattanayak

The 2018 Fiscal Transparency Handbook was published on April 21, 2018. The Handbook explains the principles and practices set out in the 2014 Fiscal Transparency Code, which was initially launched in the late 1990s and revised in 2014. The Code is the most widely recognized international standard for the disclosure of information about public finances.

Continue reading " 2018 Fiscal Transparency Handbook " »

April 19, 2018

Forecasting the Economy, or Preparing for the Future?

Thinkstock_187848705 (002)

Posted by Sybi Hida[1]

Macro-fiscal forecasting in Southern African countries mimics the experience of other developing countries. Forecasting remains a challenge, especially in commodity exporting countries. The main weaknesses relate to the lack of good data and human capacity. Many Southern African countries have invested heavily in building macro-fiscal models—with the support of external experts—and setting up macro-forecasting units. In many cases, the models are complicated and require detailed data that are usually not timely, are unavailable, or do not provide a reliable guide to developments in the real economy. Another constraint is the generally high turnover of staff in forecasting units, as well as the difficulties of operating complex and cumbersome forecasting models.

Continue reading " Forecasting the Economy, or Preparing for the Future?" »

April 12, 2018

The IMF’s Online PFM Course

An Interview with Sophie Brown, Manal Fouad and Caroline Van Rijckeghem[1]


As the Fiscal Affairs Department of the IMF gets ready to launch the second offering of its online PFM course, Richard Allen (RA) interviews Sophie Brown (SB), Manal Fouad (MF), and Caroline Van Rijckeghem (CvR) on the first course offering and what it meant for training in the PFM area.

Continue reading " The IMF’s Online PFM Course " »

April 09, 2018

Budget Development in a Medium-Term Perspective

Guidance Note on Linking Plans and Budgets in the Pacific_March 2018_Page_01
Posted by Richard Neves and Sanjesh Naidu[1]

For several decades, Pacific Island Countries, like many developing countries elsewhere in the world, have prepared national and sectoral plans which are inadequately linked to the annual budget process. Achieving the development objectives set out in these plans could be best described as variable. Plans have become aspirational documents, accurately reflecting the development outcomes that various communities seek, and connecting with global and regional priorities that are of national interest, for example the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. But they are much less effective in guiding decisions on which projects to implement, or which services to prioritize, and securing the necessary resources.  

Continue reading " Budget Development in a Medium-Term Perspective " »

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