April 18, 2014

 Posted by Benoit Taiclet 

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IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde’s visit to Bamako in January took place while Mali is still healing its historical wounds. In 2012, the defeat of the army against insurgents led to a coup d’état which was met with condemnation by the international community and sanctions by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Faced with the withdrawal of external funding, Mali downsized budget appropriations by one-third and fended off challenges to budget discipline. In spite of these efforts, Mali’s total debt rose by 2 percentage points to 35 percent of GDP.

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April 15, 2014

PEMPAL Meeting on Results-Based Monitoring and Evaluation

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 Posted by Gelardina Prodani and Hakan Ay1


From March 3-6, 2014, 20 countries representing the PEMPAL Budget Community of Practice (BCOP) in cooperation with the Ministry of Finance of Turkey gathered in Antalya, Turkey for BCOP’s annual plenary meeting.2 The agenda focused on country experiences with results-based monitoring and evaluation (RBME). David Shand, an international expert in this area, acted as the facilitator for the meeting.

The meeting was formally opened by Mr. Ilhan Hatipoglu, the Director General of Budget and Fiscal Control in the Ministry of Finance of Turkey, and Mr. Martin Raiser, Director of the World Bank in Turkey.

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April 11, 2014

Formal vs. Informal Fiscal Rules: Lessons from Sweden

Posted by Ingvar Mattsoni

An unusual political conflict occurred in Sweden in the autumn of 2013. The conflict triggered a fierce debate on fiscal rules between the political parties in the Swedish Parliament, the Riksdag. This is unusual because consensus on fiscal rules has prevailed since the fiscal policy framework was reformed after the economic crisis in the 1990s.

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March 25, 2014

Meeting Rising Pressures to Address Income Inequality—A User’s Guide

Posted by Sanjeev Gupta and Michael Keen

These are difficult times for ministers of finance. Fiscal constraints are tight and raising economic growth a priority. At the same time, income inequality is on the rise, and so is public pressure for governments to do something about it through their tax and spending policies. What’s a minister to do? How can he or she meet these seemingly incompatible demands?

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March 04, 2014

How to Enforce Sanctions against Financial Non-Compliance

Posted by Yugo Koshima and Olya Kroytor1


Many budget system laws include provisions to impose sanctions in cases of financial non-compliance during the budget execution process. Historically, most legal frameworks have involved sanctions on individual officers, rather than on the spending agencies they are working for. Although enforcement of financial regulations is often buttressed by sanctions, sanctions often end up as a last resort solution and in practice are rarely exercised. So, what should an effective sanctions regime look like under a modern budget system law? Reflecting on this question, it is helpful to explore legal developments in several jurisdictions.

In some countries, sanctions under the budget system law center on the notion of strict personal liability of individual officers in the payment process. In brief, “strict liability” means that a person is legally responsible for the damage or loss regardless of fault (negligence or intentional act). For example:

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February 24, 2014

Treasury Management and Government Accounting

Posted by Carlos Pimenta and Mario Pessoa

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A high-level seminar, bringing together treasurers and accountant generals of Latin American and Caribbean countries, was held in Washington DC on February 12-14. The participants discussed key issues on treasury management and public sector accounting, and defined a common agenda to facilitate future coordination and technical developments.

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February 18, 2014

ICGFM Issues Call for Speakers for 28th Annual Training Conference, May 19-23, 2014, Miami, Florida, USA

Posted by David Nummy, ICGFM Vice-President for Programs

One outcome of the global financial crisis has been the recognition that improved Public Financial Management was critical to management of the crisis as well as part of future prevention efforst. New approaches to the core elements of the PFM cycle have been employed and interest has grown in better methods to effectively manage resources. ICGFM will explore the innovations in PFM that have emerged as well as practices that are recognized as effective at its upcoming 28th Annual International Training Conference in Miami from May 19-23, 2014.

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February 04, 2014

Job offer: Senior Public Sector Management Specialist in Bucharest, Romania (World Bank #140135)

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The World Bank Group (WBG)’s Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Unit (PREM) in the Europe and Central Asia (ECA) Region handles the region’s work on economic policy, public sector management and governance, social inclusion, and access to equal economic opportunities. In Romania, the Bank supports public sector and institutional modernization through a range of activities, including lending programs and Reimbursable Advisory Services (RAS).

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February 03, 2014

Matching the Talk to the Walk?

Posted by Johann Seiwald1

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Since the late 1980s, many governments have moved away from traditional Public Administration (PA) systems – which highlight the importance of hierarchy, legal rules, and a clear division of labor within the administrative system - in favor of the New Public Management (NPM) model. More recently, a new “Public Governance” (PG) model has emerged which emphasizes concepts and values such as accountability, transparency and participation (see box below). One model does not necessarily supplant the others. In some countries, elements of all three models coexist, and can complement each other.

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January 30, 2014

Effective Cash Management in East Africa

Posted by Guy Anderson and Yasemin Hurcan1

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The East AFRITAC member countries (Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda) have been progressively rationalizing their banking arrangements and strengthening their cash management techniques. These improvements have been enabled by the wider use of financial management information systems (FMIS), improved banking systems and increased connectivity. However, despite some notable successes, the banking and cash management regimes in many of the countries continue to underperform. Problems include: significant government-controlled bank balances outside of the computed cash position; unreliable cash forecasting; and the passive use of cash management instruments. The result has been higher borrowing costs, a reliance on cash rationing techniques to determine budget releases, difficulties in planning and implementing the approved budget, and an increased risk of accumulating payment arrears.

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