May 26, 2015

Mozambique’s Fiscal Transparency Evaluation

MOZ3

Posted by Xavier Rame, Delphine Moretti, and Esther Palacio[1]

The IMF has recently published a Fiscal Transparency Evaluation (FTE) report for Mozambique. (English/Português) This evaluation was the first to be undertaken in Africa. It shows that Mozambique has made substantial progress in making fiscal information available to the public, but highlights the scope for improvements to the budget documentation and fiscal reports, and further transparency on fiscal risks. The Mozambique FTE is one of ten pilots of the IMF’s new methodology for assessing countries’ fiscal transparency practices, and should help build a more complete picture of governments’ financial accountability practices around the world.

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May 20, 2015

Enhancing Fiscal Reporting & Transparency in East Africa

Afritac east logo

 

Posted by Amitabh Tripathi[1] 

East AFRITAC (AFE) countries[2] have been progressively improving their fiscal reporting practices. These practices have benefitted from wider reform efforts including strengthening of the PFM legal and regulatory frameworks, extending and enhancing the functionalities of IFMIS and progressive improvements in the timeliness and comprehensiveness of in-year and end-year fiscal reports. However, despite some notable improvements, the fiscal reporting function in many of the countries continues to underperform. Common problems include: unclear definition and classification of public entities in the legal framework that adversely impacts the coverage of fiscal reports; lack of timeliness and regularity in the publication of in-year reports and consolidated annual financial statements; failure to adopt internationally accepted standards; and inadequate reporting of expenditure arrears and contingent liabilities.   

These issues have become more significant in the context of the East African Monetary Union (EAMU) protocol that requires harmonization of PFM legal frameworks and fiscal reporting for partner countries, four of which are part of the AFE constituency. Accordingly, following requests from some of its member countries, AFE organized a four-day regional workshop on “Enhancing Fiscal Reporting and Transparency” in Arusha, Tanzania during April 2015. The workshop was attended by twenty-eight officials from the Ministries of Finance and Planning in Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania (including Zanzibar) and Uganda.   

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May 08, 2015

GFSM 2014 – the Quest for Comparable Fiscal Data

ThinkstockPhotos-97688892apples&oranges

Posted by Sagé de Clerck[1]

With the release of the 2012 IMF Board Decision on Bilateral and Multilateral Surveillance, the Fund’s Managing Director, Christine Lagarde, made a statement that: “In the current challenging and highly interconnected global economic environment, it is critical to have effective surveillance to enable the early detection of risks and provide timely policy advice.” What was not explicitly stated, but implicitly understood by all, is that such surveillance and policy advice in a globally interconnected world depend on the availability of accurate and timely statistical data. Such data should be relevant, accurate and timely, and allow comparisons to be made across different time periods, and different regions and countries.

How do we derive comparable fiscal data?

The Government Finance Statistics (GFS) frameworkprovides a potential solution to the challenges highlighted by Christine Lagarde, so far as the fiscal area is concerned.The 2001 version of GFS introduced an integrated framework of stocks and flows, concepts, definitions, and classifications. It assisted compilers to prepare and report fiscal data for policy making and analysis in a consistent and comparable manner. A further step forward has been made with the recent release of the 2014 version of the GFS manual (GFSM 2014).

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April 28, 2015

Job Offer! Resident Public Financial Management (PFM) Advisor (based in Belgrade, Serbia) (Job Number: 1500378)

  Job Offer

Description

The Fiscal Affairs Department (FAD) of the IMF is seeking a highly qualified expert to act as Resident Public Financial Management (PFM) Advisor, based in Belgrade (Serbia). The Advisor’s position would be for an initial period of one year starting June 30, 2015, with the potential for further extension.

The resident advisor will work within the Ministry of Finance to:

• Strengthen the budget preparation process by developing macro-fiscal capacities; broaden budget preparation and analysis; improve medium-term baseline espenditure methodologies; develop medium-term policy costing processes; and integrate the top-down macro-fiscal forecasts and bottom-up expenditure baseline estimates.

• Build fiscal risk assessment capacity by building the analytical and reporting capabilities of a new fiscal risk unit; develop the capability to assess and report on PPP projects; guide collections and analysis of arrears data; and incorporate financial analysis of state owned enterprises into the budget process.

• Provide general assistance in PFM reforms by assisting the coordination and monitoring of the PFM reform program; assist in the migration of budget analysis and decision making processes to the program budget environment; and working with the regional PFM advisor to provide additional assistance as required.

Qualifications

Applicants should hold a university degree or equivalent qualification relevant to the above duties; possess excellent written and oral communication skills in English; have well developed analytical and research skills; be proficient in standard office IT applications (such as Word, PowerPoint, and Excel), and have experience in project management.

Applicants should also possess excellent interpersonal skills, be self-motivating and have an ability to work as part of a team, an aptitude for establishing cooperative relations and sharing technical knowledge with national authorities, as well as capacity to handle sensitive issues with discretion. A flexible and adaptable approach will also be essential in what is a fast moving and challenging work environment.

Preference will be given to candidates with at least ten years of relevant experience, including in a senior or advisory position within a ministry of finance, treasury, or related institution, who have managed or participated in the delivery of TA programs in the above PFM areas. Experience of working in countries with IMF supported programs and/or of working in the region would also be an advantage.

The IMF is committed to achieving a diverse staff, including gender, nationality, culture and educational background.

 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.

April 17, 2015

Public Ownership of Commercial Assets—A Quarter Century Phony War

CWoN2

Posted by Dag Detter and Stefan Fölster1

For more than a quarter of a century there has been a phony war raging between those in favour of public ownership of commercial assets and those against: privatisation versus nationalisation. This polarised and binary debate has missed the point. What matters is not so much who owns the assets but the quality of asset management

For any ownership mode, be it private, public, mutual or cooperative, there is a very wide range of alternative management models/styles and the choices made from those alternatives will have a major impact on the value the asset delivers. Huge portfolios remain in government hands, including not only corporations but also vast swathes of real estate. In some cases, privatisation will make sense. In many others, it may be neither desirable nor feasible. The good news is that there are ways to sweat assets that remain in public hands, generating a higher rate of return on them—if governments follow a few sensible rules. 

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April 09, 2015

Why Sovereign Wealth Funds Should Not Invest at Home

 Refinery

Posted by Andrew Bauer[1]

Developing, capital-scarce countries need domestic investment. Governments in countries such as Angola, Mongolia, and Timor-Leste must invest in education, health and public infrastructure if they hope to achieve middle- or high-income status. What’s more, mineral-rich countries have access to large (yet finite) sources of income that can be used to boost domestic investment and help overcome the poverty trap. On this nearly everyone can agree.

In response to this need for domestic investment, some commentators have recently suggested that there might be opportunities for these countries’ sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) to directly invest at home. Nearly every country with significant oil, gas or mineral exports operates a SWF. Already, governments in Angola, Azerbaijan, Iran, Nigeria and Russia, for example, use their SWFs to channel money to special domestic projects.

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March 31, 2015

Double Job Announcement! PEFA Secretariat

PEFA

Job vacancies in the PEFA Secretariat

Are you enthusiastic about improving the effectiveness of public financial management? Do you want to contribute to better public sector management and performance? Are you keen to stimulate public sector reform? You might be one of the people we are seeking to join the PEFA Secretariat.

 

We have vacancies for a Program Advisor and a Senior Program Advisor
to work in the PEFA Secretariat in Washington DC

You can see more details about who we are looking for here

 About PEFA

The PEFA program aims to strengthen public financial management and accountability systems and improve knowledge of the quality and scope for improving public financial management performance. The program seeks to achieve this aim through the application of PEFA assessment methodology, performance reports, research, analysis and application of PEFA results. The PEFA methodology is in over 150 countries.

The PEFA program is directed by a Steering Committee comprising seven partner organisations: World Bank Group, International Monetary Fund, European Commission, UK Department for International Development, Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The PEFA Secretariat, hosted by the World Bank in Washington DC, assists the Steering Committee in the development and maintenance of the program. It also provides global support to users of the PEFA methodology through advice, guidance, training, research and information.

About the job vacancies

Senior Program Advisor – click here to learn more or apply on line

The right person for this position will be part of the leadership team in the Secretariat. They will manage and deliver on core activities, including:

Ø Technical reviews of planned and draft PEFA assessments 

Ø Research and reporting on the application of the PEFA Framework

Ø Finalization of the upgrade of the PEFA Framework, including development of guidance, training materials, information and liaison with various stakeholders 

Ø Outreach and cooperation with governments and organisations with an interest in PEFA or related diagnostic tools

Ø Support to clients, peer learning, tracking progress, innovation and active engagement, including training, developing new products and building relationships

The Senior Program Advisor will have a track record of at least 8 years’ experience in public financial management or related disciplines. They will have relevant post-graduate qualifications and demonstrate significant achievements as a leader and manager. They will have a good understanding of the PEFA Framework and experience in application and/or analysis of PEFA assessments. They will have strong inter-personal skills and demonstrated ability to speak and write effectively in English. Ideally they will also be able to work in at least one other language used in PEFA reports (French, Spanish and Portuguese).

Applications for Senior Advisor are to be made through the World Bank job center. The job reference is 150459. Please do not submit your application to the Secretariat directly.

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Program Advisor -  click here to learn more or apply on line

The right person for this job will be a core member of the PEFA Secretariat team. They will work independently and with other team members on:

Ø Technical reviews of planned and draft PEFA assessments 

Ø Research and reporting on the application of the PEFA Framework

Ø Finalization of the upgrade of the PEFA Framework, including development of guidance, training materials, information and liaison with various stakeholders 

Ø Support to clients, peer learning, tracking progress, innovation and active engagement, including training, developing new products and building relationships

The Program Advisor will have a track record of at least 4 years’ experience in public financial management or related disciplines. They will have relevant post-graduate qualifications and demonstrate ability to work effectively in a team. They will have a good understanding of the PEFA Framework and ideally will have some experience in application and/or analysis of PEFA assessments. They will have strong inter-personal skills and demonstrated ability to speak and write effectively in English. It is desirable that they are also able to work in one other language used in PEFA reports (French, Spanish and Portuguese).

Applications are to be made through the World Bank job center.  The job reference is 150467Please do not send applications to the Secretariat directly.

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If you want more information about PEFA or the Secretariat, please visit our website at: www.pefa.org or send us an email at services@pefa.org

 

 

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.

March 20, 2015

DAMS AND DIKES FOR PUBLIC FINANCES

1421 - St Elizabeth Flod

Posted By Vitor Gaspar, Richard Hughes, and Laura Jaramillo

Fortune, wrote Machiavelli five hundred years ago in The Prince, is like a violent river. She “shows her power where virtue has not been put in order to resist her and therefore turns her impetus where she knows that dams and dikes have not been made to contain her.” Managing the ebb and flow of government’s fiscal fortunes poses similar challenges today. We need a risk-based approach to fiscal policymaking that applies a systematic analysis of potential sources of fiscal vulnerabilities. This method would help countries detect potential problems early, and would allow for institutional changes to build resilience.

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March 03, 2015

New Governance Arrangements for the IPSAS Board

IPSASB

Posted by Delphine Moretti

Following a year-long consultation, the IMF-OECD-World Bank-chaired Review Group on the Governance of International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) has today issued its recommendations for strengthening the oversight of the IPSAS Board. They include the establishment of a new Public Interest Committee whose founding members will be the IMF, OECD, World Bank, and INTOSAI and a new Consultative Advisory Group comprised of producers and users of government financial statements.

As discussed several times on this blog and in the IMF’s 2012 paper on “Fiscal Transparency, Accountability, and Risk”, the global financial crisis highlighted the significant gaps and weaknesses in public sector accounting practices and underscored the need for more comprehensive, reliable, and timely financial reporting by governments. These concerns were echoed by the G-20 at their meeting in Moscow in February 2013, when they called on the IMF, World Bank, and OECD to work to improve the transparency and comparability of public sector financial reporting.

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February 23, 2015

Budget Laws vs. Appropriation Acts

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Posted by Renaud Duplay[1]

Is a government budget a forecast or an authorization? Both, of course, but ask various PFM practitioners to pick one answer first and you will see a clear divide between “macro-fiscalists” – who think forecasts first – and financial managers – who think of control and authorization first. But you may also detect some cultural divide as well: people from Westminster style countries may think forecasts first while people from continental European countries, like France, may choose authorization as the main feature of a budget.

This cultural divide, which my FAD colleague Benoit Chevauchez already discussed on a previous post on PFM taxonomy, may be linked to the various forms a budget can take as both a technical and a political object.

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