September 04, 2015

Does it Make any Difference? Reviewing the Impacts of Fiscal Transparency and Participation

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Posted by Paolo de Renzio[1]

 Advocates of fiscal transparency and public participation in budget processes are often faced with the awkward “so what” question posed by skeptics. “It’s all good for you to say that transparency and participation are important”, the skeptical questioner asks, “but can you in fact show that they make any real difference?”.

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August 31, 2015

Treasury Management in the Dominican Republic

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Posted by Mario Pessoa [1]

The Dominican Republic Ministry of Finance, Latin American Treasury Forum (FOTEGAL,  International Monetary Fund (IMF), Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and World Bank jointly organized the sixth annual seminar that took place in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, from August 26-28, 2015. FOTEGAL aims at providing a permanent regional dialogue for technical discussions and exchange of experiences among treasurers. The seminar, also supported by the Government of Switzerland through State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, Economic Cooperation and Development (SECO), is a key component of the IMF’s technical assistance program on treasury management.

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August 24, 2015

Book Review - PFM Reforms in Latin America

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Posted by Carlos Pimenta [1] and Mario Pessoa [2]

 Over the last two decades, almost all countries in Latin America have conducted substantive reforms to strengthen their public financial management (PFM) systems and generate reliable information in an effort to promote fiscal stability and sustainable development. These reforms have enhanced the quality of macro-fiscal management in the region and improved economic performance observed throughout the 2000s. As the recent economic crisis demonstrated, however, there is room for further improvement, as well as a need to increase the resilience of the PFM systems.

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August 07, 2015

Letting in the light? Vatican adopts IPSAS

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 Posted by Tim Irwin[1]

Throughout Europe, fiscal secrecy gave way to openness as absolute monarchy gave way to constitutional government, mainly during the nineteenth century. Kings, if they weren’t simply deposed, were constrained by legislatures and judiciaries, and budgets and accounts became public documents. Absolute monarchy has of course disappeared from Europe. Or, rather, it has almost disappeared. In a small corner of the continent, the Vatican holds out against the trend, describing itself as “an absolute monarchy” (albeit an elective one) in which the Pope “holds full legislative, executive and judicial powers.” Not surprisingly, the Vatican publishes less information on its finances than other European governments.

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July 30, 2015

“Your Majesty, Rebuild that Fiscal Buffer” – Some Fiscal Policy Advice from the Eighteenth Century

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Posted by Renaud Duplay
[1]

 In 1774, Anne-Robert-Jacques Turgot, Baron de Laune, was appointed Minister of Finance by Louis XVI, and immediately resolved to set out his principles of good financial governance in a letter to the king. This letter is still considered a hallowed text in the French Ministry of Finance and its continuing relevance to fiscal policy is striking.

 Turgot proposes a set of fiscal objectives and rules. “No bankruptcy, no tax increase, no new indebtedness. In peacetime, the Crown should only borrow for the purpose of amortizing existing debt, or buying back old debts at a more favorable rate.” Thus, the government should in normal times not run a deficit. This rule would, however, accommodate exceptional circumstances—such as war—. It was the closest thing to a structural balance rule an eighteenth-century gentleman could have thought of. In normal times, debt and the cost of indebtedness would decline.

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July 27, 2015

Improving International Capacity Development: Bright Spots

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Posted by Chris Iles[1]

 For many years, Dr. Jim Armstrong has been at the forefront in challenging the commonly held view that “international best practices” provide an effective solution to capacity development in developing countries.  He has been particularly concerned that many projects aimed at reforming public administration in poor countries fall short of their objectives, fail to sustain benefits after the project is complete and, by passively importing foreign practices, prevent the development of indigenous solutions. 

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July 24, 2015

Job Offer! Technical Assistance Advisor (HQBC), Public Financial Management Division

Snap1The selected candidate will provide technical assistance (TA) on public financial management (PFM) matters to IMF member countries, and will supervise the technical assistance work of experts based in member countries and/or at the IMF's Regional Technical Assistance Centers. The work focus may cover all PFM areas: the legal and regulatory framework; budget preparation (including medium-term budgetary frameworks and performance-oriented budgeting); budget execution (including expenditure control, treasury operations, cash management, accounting, fiscal reporting, and financial management information system); and internal control and audit. For this round of hires, a candidate with familiarity with macro-fiscal capacity building issues, including fiscal forecasting, medium-term-fiscal frameworks, and fiscal responsibly legislation, is encouraged to apply. The TA advisor will be required to travel overseas.

For more information and to apply click here.

 

July 23, 2015

How to Prepare for a Commodity Price Shock

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 Posted by Andrew Bauer and David Mihalyi[1]

 Headlines about resource-rich economies faltering under crashing world commodity prices fill the news. "Venezuela in a bind as Nicolas Maduro faces default dilemma;" "Alberta premier considers sales tax to fix ailing, oil-based economy;" "Iran says it can no longer afford Ahmadinejad's cash handouts".

Since February 2013, the metals’ price index has dropped by over 30 percent, led by a 60 percent decline in iron ore prices and a nearly 22 percent decline in copper prices. Crude oil prices have dropped nearly 50 percent since June 2014. The resulting loss in fiscal revenues in resource-dependent countries has exposed severe vulnerabilities in some.

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July 14, 2015

IMF Launches New Public Investment Management Assessment

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Posted by: Richard Hughes

  ADDIS ABABA, July 15, 2015 - The IMF today launched its new Public Investment Management Assessment (PIMA) at the Third Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

  Speaking at seminar on Bolstering Country Public Financial Management Systems for Efficiency and Delivery, Sanjeev Gupta (Deputy Director of the IMF’s Fiscal Affairs Department) presented the findings of a new IMF research paper entitled Making Public Investment More Efficient. The paper showed that the average country was losing around one-third of the potential benefits from their public investment to inefficiencies in the way in which those investments are managed. Mr. Gupta stressed that the potential development benefits of closing this efficiency gap are significant, saying “The most efficient public investors get twice the growth “bang” for their public investment “buck” than the least efficient public investors.” 

  Mr. Gupta went onto explain that if government want to realize the full economic and social benefits from public investments, they have to improve the way in which those investments are managed. The IMF’s new paper also found that strengthening public investment management institutions can close up to two-thirds of the public investment efficiency gap.

 To help countries evaluate the strength of the public investment management practices and identify priorities for reform, Mr. Gupta unveiled the IMF’s new Public Investment Management Assessment (PIMA). The PIMA evaluates 15 institutions that shape public investment decision-making at the three key stages:

  • Planning sustainable investment across the public sector;
  • Allocating investment to the right sectors and projects; and
  • Implementing projects on time and on budget.

 The IMF will be piloting the PIMA over the coming year in close collaboration with the World Bank, Regional Development Banks, and country authorities

 To learn more about the PIMA and the IMF’s work on public investment click here, watch the video below, or contact us at pubinvest@imf.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.

July 13, 2015

Seychelles Moves Toward Cash-basis IPSAS

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Posted by Johann Seiwald[1]

According to Seychelles’ Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) as of 2012, the government is required to prepare its financial statements in accordance with international public sector accounting standards (IPSAS). The government recently reached an important milestone on this path by producing a set of financial statements for the fiscal year 2013 which comply with many of the requirements of the cash basis IPSAS. Seychelles is a front runner among the 18 countries in Africa which have announced plans to align their accounting systems with international standards. These countries include Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe.

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