February 03, 2016

Medium-Term Budgetary Frameworks, Fiscal Rules, and Fiscal Councils in East Africa


Posted by Victor Lledó[1]

A workshop on Medium-term Budgetary Frameworks, Fiscal Rules and Fiscal councils took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from January 11-14, 2016. The workshop was organized by the East Africa Regional Technical Assistance Center (AFE) and was attended by 23 delegates from Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda, and the East Africa Community (EAC) Secretariat. Participants, all senior officials, hailed from Ministries of Finance, Supreme Audit Institutions, Parliamentary Budget Offices, and Think Tanks. Overviews on fiscal institutions, medium-term budget frameworks, fiscal rules, and fiscal councils were presented by Fazeer Rahim (Macro-Fiscal Advisor, AFE), Phyllis Makau (Director of Kenya’s Parliamentary Budget Office), Victor Lledó (Senior Economist, FAD), and Andy King (Chief of Staff, U.K. Office of Budget Responsibility). These presentations were followed by discussion of specific country cases presented by some of the delegates. A wrap-up session in the last day distilled key lessons.

Some of the key take-away messages— potentially relevant for further analytical and operational work on fiscal rules and fiscal councils— were as follows.[2]

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February 02, 2016

Upgraded PEFA 2016


Posted by Lewis Hawke[1]

On February 1, 2016, the seven PEFA partners[2] announced the release of the PEFA 2016 framework for assessing countries’ public financial management (PFM) performance. PEFA 2016 aims to enhance the relevance of PEFA while preserving as much comparability over time as possible. It will provide an improved basis for monitoring PFM performance and for discussing and designing reform initiatives. Consequently, it will be more useful for governments and other stakeholders.

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January 19, 2016

A Study of FMIS in Four Asian Countries


Posted by Suhas Joshi and Minh Van Nguyen[1]

A recent study by the Public Expenditure Network in Asia (PEMNA)—“FMIS: A Study of selected PEMNA Members: Lessons for Other Countries”—compares the experiences of FMIS implementation in four countries of the region. A copy of this report can be downloaded here. The lessons drawn from the study should be helpful for other countries embarking on similar projects.

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January 14, 2016

Managing Expenditure Arrears in East Africa

Afritac east

Posted by Amitabh Tripathi[1]

Accumulation of expenditure arrears is a persistent problem across some East AFRITAC (AFE) countries[2] where they range between 1-3% of GDP. These arrears distort the planned implementation of the budget and negatively impact on the government’s finances and ability to deliver essential public services. In addition, incomplete information on arrears presents a risk that the real size of the government’s deficit is concealed and the level of its liabilities understated.

In recent years, member countries have been focusing on establishing the level and sources of expenditure arrears and taking steps to prevent their recurrence. These initiatives have benefitted from enhanced provisions on commitment controls, multi-year commitments, and in-year changes to the budget, coupled with improvements in the disclosure of arrears and other liabilities. However, despite some improvements, there remain many gaps in the recognition, reporting, monitoring and prevention of arrears.

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January 11, 2016

Consultative Advisory Group Will Improve IPSASB Governance


Posted by Svetlana Klimenko and Delphine Moretti[1]

The process of strengthening the governance and oversight of IPSASB was launched in 2014, and led to the creation of the Public Interest Committee…

As announced previously on this blog, a global consultation was conducted in early 2014 to gather the views of the public on the future directions for the governance and oversight of the International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board (IPSASB).

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January 06, 2016

PFM Bible Reaches the Masses!


Posted by Holger van Eden [1]

A paperback version of The International Handbook of Public Financial Management, edited by Richard Allen, Richard Hemming and Barry H. Potter, has just been released by Palgrave Macmillan. The book may be purchased on line through Amazon and other distributors at a much reduced price compared to the hardback version, which was published in 2013. A review of the volume by Philip Joyce and Juan Pablo Martinez Guzman in the PFM Blog (November 6, 2013) noted that :

The International Handbook of Public Financial Management is a must-have resource for many varied audiences. From a practitioner perspective, both development professionals and government officials will find a wealth of ideas and good practices discussed in the pages of this volume. Moreover, faculty teaching courses in financial management who wish to look at traditional PFM from an international perspective, will find no better resource than this book. Given that the pace of PFM reform is notoriously slow, this book should serve as a useful resource for years, perhaps decades, to come. The authors and editors have thus done a great service to the field.”

The International Handbook of Public Financial Management
Edited by Richard Allen, Richard Hemming, Barry Potter
ISBN: 9781137574893
December 2015
Palgrave Macmillan

[1]Holger van Eden is a Deputy Division Chief in the Public Financial Management II Division in the IMF's Fiscal Affairs Department and editor of the PFM Blog.

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.


December 30, 2015

Job Offers: A New Year, a new Career as PFM Specialist for the IMF

The Fiscal Affairs Department of the International Monetary Fund is seeking public financial management (PFM) specialists to fill a number of current and prospective vacancies. These include:

  • Contractual Advisor positions based in Washington DC.
  • Regional Advisor positions in regional technical assistance centers (RTACs), specifically PFTAC based in the Fiji servicing 17 Pacific Island Countries, CARTAC based in the Barbados servicing 20 Caribbean countries and two regional advisor positions in South-East Asia based in Bangkok.
  • Country Advisor positions based in ministries of finance in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.

Washington-based Contractual Advisor positions will be for an initial period of two years; renewable up to four years. All regional and country advisor appointments will be for a minimum of one year, renewable for a maximum of three to four years. Please find further details on the requirements and instructions on online application here


December 23, 2015

Decentralization: The Fiscal Side of the Peace Agreement in Northern Mali


Posted by Marie Laure Berbach, Grégoire Rota Graziosi, Mousse Sow and Benoit Taiclet[1]

The peace agreement settled with northern Mali insurgents in 2015 includes a large fiscal decentralization component.  This reform involves the scaling up of local governments’ resources by up to one third of the country’s budgetary revenue, thus tripling local budgets within three or four years, and increasing the number of sub-national regions from 8 to 19 (two of which are desert lands).

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December 14, 2015

Ups and Downs of PFM Reform in Ethiopia: Book Review


Posted by Richard Allen[1]

Between 1996 and 2008, Ethiopia undertook a comprehensive reform of its core financial systems, and successfully transformed itself in to one of the fastest growing economies in Africa. Since then, according to a recently published book[2] by Stephen B. Peterson, reforms have stood still or even moved backwards. Peterson provides a valuable case study of a reform experiment in which—as a USAID consultant working for the government on the Decentralization Support Activity (DSA) project—he was intimately involved.

The book has many important things to say, especially about the huge institutional challenges of reform in developing countries. A key finding is that reforms take a long time, at least 12-15 years, and basic systems (of what Peterson calls “public financial administration”, PFA) must be introduced before moving on to more sophisticated systems. But the volume also contains some serious flaws.

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December 09, 2015

Closing a Gap? The Role of Bottom-up Costing Within MTEFs


Posted by Michael Di Francesco[1]

The medium-term expenditure framework (MTEF) is one of the defining planning and budgeting practices of contemporary public financial management (PFM).[2] The PFM literature is replete with analysis of the relative strengths and weaknesses of different types of MTEF, but all are generally characterized by two features. First is the use of multi-year estimates of expenditure to account for the consequences of current year budget decisions; in other words, an MTEF is a critical ‘framing’ mechanism for more strategic budget preparation. The second feature is the emphasis placed on an iterative budget process that aims to reconcile the disciplinary function of ‘top-down’ expenditure envelopes set by finance ministries, and rigorous ‘bottom-up’ costing of programs by spending ministries.

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