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April 2011

April 29, 2011

The World Bank and Public Sector Management: Where Do You Come Out?

Posted by Nick Manning

The World Bank is reviewing its approach to Public Sector Management. Please take a look at our thinking to date: http://go.worldbank.org/BQGJN2KA30

The purpose of the approach is to make the World Bank a more effective partner to client governments in improving their ability to deliver public sector results. By results we mean those that are needed by citizens' today in sectors such as health, education, agriculture and transport – as well as results such as fiscal stability which maximize the prospects that those sector improvements will still be delivered tomorrow. This is an opportunity to reflect on some broad themes concerning the field of “public management” or “public administration” - and the specific question of what the Bank can do, particularly in environments of generally weak governance, and how progress can be ascertained.

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April 28, 2011

IMF Statistics Department is Seeking Government Finance Statistics Experts

The IMF Statistics Department seeks talented and dedicated professionals with a background in the compilation of government finance statistics to provide technical assistance advice. These experts would undertake occasional short-term assignments, usually 2 weeks, to IMF member countries. Advice will cover the international statistical standards applied to compilation and dissemination of data, including transactions and debt, for central and other levels of government. Interested candidates may address questions or send their CVs to stagoast@imf.org.

For further information about methodology, companion materials, data, and consultation processes for government finance statistics, see:

http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/gfs/manual/aboutgfs.htm

http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/gfs/manual/gfs.htm

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 27, 2011

IMF’s Second Fiscal Forum

By Abdelhak Senhadji, Emanuele Baldacci, and Jimmy McHugh [1]

Fiscal forum4 
Spring has come and the fiscal policy debate has blossomed: whether it will bear fruit is to be seen, in the meantime it is getting hotter by the day. With tensions from a two-speed recovery posing risks for the global economy, the challenges for policymakers around the world remain daunting.

Risks have changed from just a year ago, when government officials and prominent academics first met at the IMF in Washington for the inaugural round of the annual Fiscal Forum. At that time, fiscal stimulus to support the economic recovery was still a key worry, in particular in advanced economies, and participants debated how to get it right. At same time participants were concerned that increasing public debt did not lead to fiscal sustainability problems.

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April 26, 2011

IMF Job Offer: Deputy Division Chief, Public Financial Management Division 2, IMF Fiscal Affairs Department (Job Number: 1100288)

Description 

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is seeking a senior public financial management (PFM) specialist to fill a Deputy Division Chief position in the PFM Division 2 ("M2") of the Fiscal Affairs Department at the IMF Headquarters in Washington, DC.
 
M2 is responsible for providing advice and technical assistance to IMF member countries and for undertaking policy research in and organizing conferences or seminars on a broad range of public financial management issues. The Division's activities cover countries from all income levels, in Asia and the Pacific, the Western Hemisphere, and non-English speaking Africa. Key areas of work include the development, in conjunction with member countries, of PFM reform strategies and their implementation; the underpinning legal and regulatory frameworks; budget classification, preparation (medium-term fiscal and expenditure frameworks) and approval; budget execution; accounting and fiscal reporting systems; cash and debt management (including treasury systems, control of commitments, and arrears); and internal audit. Recent work also included performance budgeting, accrual accounting, the PFM underpinnings of natural resource management and sovereign wealth funds, as well as budget institutions for fiscal consolidation.

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April 25, 2011

Tax Matters for Developing Countries

Posted by Carlo Cottarelli and originally published on iMFdirect

You hear a lot these days—not least from me—about the fiscal problems of advanced economies. But let’s not forget the fiscal problems that low-income countries face, though they are of a different kind.

For all too many low-income countries, government tax revenues are far from enough to meet the needs of their people. Some have made good progress, and this helped them weather the crisis better than many advanced economies—but there is an underlying, quiet crisis of inadequately resourced governments.

Nor is it just the level of revenue that matters; tax design and implementation are also critical to the efficiency of economic activity, to fairness, and to the legitimacy of the state.

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April 22, 2011

Gestion et Finances Publiques en Afrique Francophone

Affiché par Jean Mathis

Le site http://jean-mathis.pagesperso-orange.fr/ contient un manuel intitulé Gestion et Finances Publiques en Afrique Francophone. Il présente deux caractéristiques.

1. Il se veut résolument orienté vers les nouvelles finances publiques. Une large part est faite aux méthodologies des budgets de programmes, des cadres de dépenses à moyen terme et à la gestion par la performance.

2. Bien que les méthodologies des finances publiques soient toujours présentées de façon relativement universelle, le manuel cherche à être proche des contraintes institutionnelles de l'essentiel des pays d'Afrique francophone. En particulier, il analyse systématiquement les nouvelles directives de finances publiques de l'UEMOA et de la CEMAC. Plutôt que de présenter les textes des deux zones séparément, une mise en parallèle et une comparaison, à priori instructive comme toute comparaison internationale, a été recherchée.

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Management and Public Finances in Francophone Africa

Posted by Jean Mathis

The site http://jean-mathis.pagesperso-orange.fr/ contains a manual entitled "Management and Public Finances in Francophone Africa." It has two main features.

1. It claims to focus squarely on the new approaches to public finance. Considerable emphasis is placed on program budgeting, medium-term expenditure frameworks, and performance-based management methodologies.

2. Although public finance methodologies are always presented in a fairly universal way, this manual attempts to reflect the institutional constraints that most francophone African countries face. Specifically, it systematically analyzes the new WAEMU and CEMAC public finance directives. Rather than present the laws of the two areas separately, an effort has been made to compare them in parallel, an instructive step as is any cross-country comparison.

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April 18, 2011

Waste in Government Expenditures

Posted by Sanjay Vani, Lead Financial Management Specialist

In this period of fiscal crisis and tightening of public expenditure budgets, it is especially interesting to look at the extent to which public expenditures are wasted. It is generally assumed that in developing countries a large portion of public expenditures is lost to fraud, waste, and corruption—as some high-ranking officials have been candid enough to admit. For example, when Rajiv Gandhi was Prime Minister of India, he famously remarked that for every one rupee spent on poverty alleviation programs in India only 15 paise (i.e., 15%) reached the intended beneficiary. But it turns out that wasteful government expenditure is not just a problem of developing countries. Three OECD countries with large economies—the United Kingdom, the United States of America, and Japan—can serve as examples.

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April 14, 2011

Donors Endorse Work Program of IMF Trust Fund to Help Countries Manage Natural Resource Wealth

EXR 
Donors agreed today to endorse the work plan for the first year of operations of a new International Monetary Fund (IMF) trust fund designed to help ten low-income and lower-middle-income countries to manage better their natural resource wealth. The Managing Natural Resource Wealth Topical Trust Fund, launched in December 2010 (see Press Release No. 10/497), will enable the IMF to step up its technical assistance to low- and lower-middle income countries with substantial extractive industries for harnessing the full benefit of their natural resources and accelerate poverty reduction. The trust fund’s donors are the European Union, Norway, Switzerland, Australia, the Netherlands, and Kuwait.

The work plan of the trust fund for the year starting May 1, 2011 seeks a balance among geographic regions, as well as countries at different stages of resource development and income levels. Complementing the technical assistance activities, the work plan also includes several research projects and workshops focused on economic governance in natural resource development for wide dissemination of expertise and best practice.

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Job Offer: IBP Program Officer (Francophone Africa) – Open Budget Initiative Program

The International Budget Partnership (IBP) is based at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities in Washington, DC.  The IBP provides a range of services to help non-profit organizations analyze and influence public budgets in developing and transition countries.  The IBP is seeking a Program Officer (Francophone Africa) to provide support to the Open Budget Initiative (OBI) Program.  The OBI is a research and advocacy program that seeks to increase public access to budget information and inclusive and accountable budget-making.  The Program Officer will report to the OBI Manager, and the Supervisor of IBP’s Open Budget Survey.

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April 12, 2011

IMF Fiscal Monitor, "Shifting Gears: Tackling Challenges on the Road to Fiscal Adjustment"

Posted by Manmohan Kumar

Fm april 2011 
The new issue of the IMF Fiscal Monitor—the Fund’s flagship fiscal publication—is available today. The report finds that fiscal sustainability risks remain elevated, as progress in some regions has been offset by delays in fiscal consolidation in others.

The Monitor emphasizes that for advanced economies, steady annual progress, starting now, toward bringing debt ratios to prudent levels in the medium term is essential. Emerging economies should use revenues associated with current favorable conditions to rebuild fiscal space rather than to increase spending in the near term. Both groups should make progress on structural reforms to enhance growth and equity, and strengthen fiscal transparency and institutions.

Continue reading "IMF Fiscal Monitor, "Shifting Gears: Tackling Challenges on the Road to Fiscal Adjustment"" »

April 11, 2011

Professor Allen Schick: "Government Shutdowns – Uniquely American"

 Posted by Michel Lazare

As you know, a last-minute agreement on this year's budget among the leaders of the US Congress avoided a partial shutdown of the US Federal Government. Failing this budget agreement, a partial shutdown would have occurred at midnight on April 8 when the time-bound resolutions that had funded the Federal Government so far in this fiscal year would have expired.

Such possible partial shutdowns are "uniquely American," as Professor Allen Schick explains in the interview he gave a few days ago to Marco Werman, the anchor of the National Public Radio show "The World."

Disclosure: as Marco Werman indicates during the interview, Allen Schick has worked for the IMF's Fiscal affairs Department as a consultant. Even better, he is a very good friend of many contributors to our PFM Blog!

April 08, 2011

The PFM Board at One Year

By John Short, PFM Board partner

On April 10, the PFM Board celebrates its first year of existence. In that year there have been almost 500 registered members with some 117,000 page views from nearly 3,000 people from 11,200 visits in 153 countries. There have also been 641 posts in 188 topics which are broadly organised around the PEFA framework.

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April 06, 2011

Still Mostly Closed, but There’s Hope: Results from the Open Budget Survey 2010

Posted by Paolo de Renzio, International Budget Partnership

Transparency in public budgeting has been recognized as a principle of sound governance for a long time. But the systematic assessment and measurement of governments’ budget transparency is a recent phenomenon. One tool that has been developed for that purpose is the Open Budget Index (OBI), produced every two years since 2006 by the International Budget Partnership as part of its Open Budget Survey, to document the state of budget transparency across the world.

The OBI is based on an extensive questionnaire that draws on standards developed by a number of international organizations, including the IMF, the OECD, and the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI). It ranks countries based on their scores on the OBI, which can range from 0 to 100, looking at the public availability, timeliness, and comprehensiveness of eight key budget documents that every country should publish.

Continue reading "Still Mostly Closed, but There’s Hope: Results from the Open Budget Survey 2010" »

April 04, 2011

Global Aid Transparency Movement: A Call for Action?

Posted by Florence Kuteesa, former budget director of Uganda

A global aid transparency movement, bringing together several initiatives with a shared vision[1], has received increasing interest and attention since the 2005 Paris Declaration for Aid Effectiveness. The main thrust of the movement is to make information about aid spending easier to access and understand by promoting public disclosure of regular, detailed, and timely reports on volume, allocations, and, where available, results of aid spending.

The movement is premised on the understanding that joint commitment from both donors and recipient governments is required to enforce global aid transparency. The International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) advocates for one gateway to access information from different sources by setting up an online registry that records the location of information. Publish What You Fundconducted an assessment of donor transparency levels whose findings were published in the 2010 Aid Transparency Assessment Report and discussed below. A joint initiative[2] is underway to formulate common standards to determine what information participating donors will publish and formats in which it will be presented.

Continue reading "Global Aid Transparency Movement: A Call for Action?" »

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