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January 2010

January 29, 2010

PEFA "Training of Trainers" Workshop 2010

Posted by Phil Sinnett, Senior Public Finance Management Specialist, PEFA Secretariat 

Since the launch of the PEFA Framework in June 2005, more than 150 assessments have been completed and these are increasingly used by development partners and governments in the PFM reform process.

Initially, the PEFA Secretariat was heavily involved in training on the use of the Framework, but it does not have the resources to respond to the increasing demand for training – particularly at the country level for government officials and development partners’ staff. As a consequence, much PEFA training is now delivered by consultants hired directly by the sponsors of the assessments. The Secretariat has supported the development of training capacity in the private sector by designing a two-day "Training of PEFA Trainers" workshop, and the next event will take place at the European Commission premises in Brussels on February 24-25, 2010.

The workshop is designed for individuals who have a good basic understanding of public financial management and some experience delivering training workshops. Participants are assumed to have participated in the basic PEFA “Workshop on Applying the PFM Performance Measurement Framework” and have practical experience from implementing a PEFA assessment, or alternatively, to have substantial experience from implementing several PEFA assessments. The methods used will be a mixture of instructor-led presentations, individual, and group work.

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January 27, 2010

ICGFM Issues Call for Speakers at May Conference

Posted by David Nummy[1] 

The International Consortium on Governmental Financial Management (ICGFM) has issued a call for speakers, panel members, and presentations to be made at its 24th Annual International Conference to be held in Miami from May 16-21.   The theme of the conference will be: Public Financial Management in the Era of “The New Normal”.

An expert panel will review all proposals and select the most pertinent and thought-provoking of them for inclusion in the conference program. A stipend will be provided toward travel expenses of the selected presenters. PFM professionals wishing to submit proposals can seek more information at proposals@icgfm.org.

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January 25, 2010

Fiscal ROSCs and PEFA Assessments: A Comparison of Approaches

Posted by Mario Pessoa 

The IMF Fiscal Affairs Department has prepared a study comparing the approaches followed by the module of the Report on the Observance of Standards and Codes (ROSC) on fiscal transparency (usually known as “the fiscal ROSC”) and the assessment reports undertaken as part of the Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability (PEFA) Program (“the PEFA assessments”), respectively, as well as their respective coverage.

The note (copy attached) concludes that more than sixty percent of the good practices assessed in a fiscal ROSC are reported fully or partially in a PEFA assessment and about three-quarters of the indicators in a PEFA assessment can be derived from the material assembled for a fiscal ROSC.

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January 22, 2010

“Fiscal Issues at the IMF”: a New IMF.ORG Page

Posted by Peter Kohnert, Advisor, IMF Fiscal Affairs Department 

Since the beginning of the New Year, the IMF’s website has a dedicated page on fiscal issues. It is accessible from the imf.org home page under Key Issues: Fiscal Issues at the IMF. It supplements the efforts to improve the outreach on fiscal issues that began with this PFM blog in 2008 and a regular e-newsletter by the Fiscal Affairs Department (FAD) to subscribers in 2009.

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January 20, 2010

How do Parliaments Approve Budget Laws and Oversee Budget Processes?

Posted by Ian Lienert 

The role of parliaments varies quite substantially across countries. The U.S. Congress, for example, has more power and control over the Executive branch than that of most parliamentary regimes. However, when one looks at Latin America or Africa, it is clear that not all presidential regimes’ parliaments have such strong powers. In general, Parliament’s powers are constrained by constitutional design or practices. In France, for example, the 1958 Constitution deliberately weakened parliamentary powers relative to “fourth republic”.

Such diversity is particularly visible in public financial management. Parliaments organize themselves differently across countries to approve the annual budget law, any supplementary budgets, and oversee budget execution. In 2008 the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) published a book that provides a wealth of material on how parliamentary committees and chambers work in 88 different countries. Although the focus of the book is wider than budget processes, it nonetheless provides useful information on the different ways that parliaments examine ex ante budgets and ex post reports on budget execution.

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January 18, 2010

Workshop on Budget Reform and Achievement of MDGs in West and Central Africa

Posted by Jean-Baptiste Gros, Coordinator, The Pole - Development Strategies and Public Finance, United Nations Development Programme’s Regional Center Dakar.

A regional workshop on Budget Reform and Achievement of Millennium Development Goals in West and Central Africa took place from November 18-20, 2009 in Dakar, organized by the Pole - Development Strategies & Public Finance (UNDP Regional Center Dakar – RCD).

The seminar gathered officials from West and Central Africa, as well as Economists from UNDP country offices in the region. Twelve countries from the region were represented at the workshop, including the 8 member states of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU).[1]  Several donor representatives took part in this event as well. Experts on budgetary issues, with political and public administration backgrounds, shared their views and experiences regarding the tools to link development policies and national budget.

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January 15, 2010

Teaching Public Financial Management is Getting Hot!

Posted by Michel Lazare 

In the November 18, 2009 PFM Blog post, our colleague Dimitar Vlahov lamented about the scarcity of Master's Programs in PFM in the U.S. universities. This subject clearly piqued the interest of our PFM Blog readers. Not only was Dimitar's post one of our most popular ones in the last few weeks, but we have since then received two contributions from academia on programs teaching PFM.

Earlier this week, Richard Hemming and Roy Kelly announced the launh of a new Master's Program in PFM at Duke University.

Today, we are pleased to publish the following short presentation of the Postgraduate Diploma in PFM of the Centre for Financial and Management Studies (CeFiMS), at SOAS, University of London, authored by Norman Flynn, the Programme Director of Public Policy and Management at CeFiMS, University of London.

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January 13, 2010

Government Payroll Management: Removing the Ghosts in the Databases

Posted by Franck Bessette 

The wage bill is usually one of the biggest items of government expenditure and susceptible to weak control, misappropriation, and even corruption. From an expenditure policy perspective, the political economy of wage bill management often creates inflexibility because of pay increases linked to the electoral cycle, political preferences for wage scale compression, political or electoral based hiring, or the role of trade unions which favor seniority based promotions and management through the number of positions. This policy issue nevertheless requires a proper understanding of public financial management perspectives and the use of appropriate tools for budgeting and controlling personnel expenditures.

This post, based on a small sample of countries, looks at some PFM instruments and their linkage to personnel management issues.

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January 11, 2010

Duke University Launches a New Master’s Program in Public Financial Management

Posted by Richard Hemming and Roy Kelly 

In his November 18, 2009 post, Dimitar Vlahov laments the lack of a graduate degree program in public financial management (PFM), especially in the United States. While courses at some universities cover aspects of PFM, they are mainly concerned with the U.S. fiscal system that has many features particular to the U.S. A degree program that focuses on PFM issues facing industrial and developing countries can help to fill a skills gap in an area that will take on even greater importance as most countries prepare for the fiscal policy challenges posed by a post-crisis world.  To help fill this void, Duke University in North Carolina is introducing a PFM specialization into its well-established Master’s of International Development Policy (MIDP) program. The courses will start in Fall 2010 and be provided by the Duke Center for International Development (DCID) at the Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University.

The PFM specialization is designed for PFM practitioners with at least three and preferably five years of post-undergraduate experience working on fiscal management issues in central and local government, international institutions, or non-government organizations. Core courses focus on economic development, macroeconomic policy, public finance, budgeting and financial administration, local government finance, analytical methods, and policy analysis. More specialized courses provide an opportunity to study other topics in public finance or more detailed aspects of PFM, for example on government accounting and treasury management.

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January 08, 2010

A Useful New Database on Fiscal Governance in the EU

Posted by Andrea Schaechter 

Fiscal institutions and governance play an important role in prudent fiscal policy making. In the context of the EU’s fiscal framework—the Stability and Growth Pact—this was explicitly acknowledged with the Pact’s reform in 2005 when the European Council asked EU countries to strengthen their domestic fiscal governance, particularly by enhancing national fiscal rules and institutions. Most recently, recommendations for improved fiscal governance have played a role in the EU’s excessive deficit procedures, i.e. recommendations for those countries that have violated the 3 percent deficit threshold.

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World Bank Job Offer: Public Financial Management Specialist (Extended Term Consultant) (Job# 100021)

 The World Bank is seeking a highly organized, energized and experienced professional, capable of operating effectively in a very demanding fast-paced environment to serve as a Public Financial Management Specialist on a one year Extended Term Consultant (ETC) appointment, renewable for another one year depending on satisfactory performance. The consultant will be a key member of the World Bank’s task team which leads the dialogue with the Government of Sierra Leone (GoSL) and development partners on public financial management and related issues, and provides implementation support in respect of the Sierra Leone Integrated Public Financial Management Reform Project (IPFMRP).

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January 06, 2010

Almost All You Ever Need (or Want) to Know About Budget Classification

Posted by Davina Jacobs

Budget Classification_Page_01
Why should budget and treasury officials see the “budget classification” as one of their most important tools? What exactly is the budget classification? A new IMF Technical Note and Manual on Budget Classification (TNM/09/06) (attached below) prepared by Davina Jacobs, Jean-Luc Hélis and Dominique Bouley of the Fiscal Affairs Department addresses the following main issues:

• Why is a budget classification system important?
• What are the main features of a sound budget classification system?
• How should a budget classification system be structured?
• What is the relationship between budget classification and the chart of accounts (COA)?
• What are the pre-conditions for successful implementation of a new budget classification system?
• What are likely to be the critical steps and milestones in the reform of a budget classification?

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January 05, 2010

République centrafricaine : réformes de la gestion des finances publiques

Affiché par Bacari Koné 

Avant 2004, le système de gestion des finances publiques de la République centrafricaine (RCA) a connu de sérieux dérapages dus, en grande partie, à la situation politique difficile que le pays a traversée. Néanmoins, ce pays africain enclavé s'emploie à améliorer progressivement son système de gestion des finances publiques, avec l'aide de plusieurs donateurs.

Ce blog examine les progrès accomplis pour relever les importants défis de l’amélioration de  la gestion des finances publiques depuis le coup d'État de mars 2003.

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January 04, 2010

PFM in the Central African Republic: Setting Things Right

Posted by Bacari Koné 

Prior to 2004, the Central African Republic (CAF) experienced very serious slippages in its PFM system. The difficult political situation in CAF was an important factor in this. Over the past few years, this landlocked African country has been gradually improving its PFM system, with the help of several donors.

This post reviews the progress made in tackling key PFM challenges since the coup d’état of March 2003.

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