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December 2016

December 22, 2016

Improved Public Investment Planning Leads to More Realistic Cost Estimates

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Posted by Eivind Tandberg[1]

The IMF and other development institutions are involved in analysis and technical assistance related to public investment management in many different countries. The IMF’s new Public Investment Management Assessment tool (PIMA) has been applied in about 20 countries, and many countries are pursuing reforms to enhance the quality of their public investment.

One important consideration for countries that get involved in such efforts is to what extent structural and policy changes in public investment practices lead to tangible improvements, including more realistic cost estimates, less delays, and enhanced project benefits. A study from Norway, which has been working to improve its public investment framework for the last 15 years, indicates that such improvements do materialize but that this takes time.

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December 19, 2016

Public Sector Accounting Reform in the EU

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Posted by Martin Manuzi and Simon Tosserams[1]

High quality public services, democratic accountability, intergenerational fairness, and financial stability are just some of the key issues that people all over the world value, and depend heavily on good public sector accounting. Modern and transparent reporting is the cornerstone of effective management of public finances – and thereby critical for any country’s economic sustainability. 

The financial crisis led to austerity policies in many countries and an increased focus on better financial management in the public sector. It also resulted in the widespread acknowledgement of deficiencies in the financial information reported by EU governments, which were deemed insufficient to make a fair assessment of risk. Today government securities, whether in the EU or around the world, are no longer perceived as risk-free, and their proper rating and valuation is hampered by the opaqueness of public sector reporting. The EU can play an essential part in championing reforms in this area, which require both new legislation and institutional change. 

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December 16, 2016

Debt Sustainability Challenges in Resource-Rich Developing Countries

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A Guest Blog Post Authored by David Mihalyi at NRGI

Readers of the PFM Blog will be interested in a new article by the Natural Resources Governance Institute on debt sustainability challenges in resource-rich countries. The Institute has submitted comments to the IMF and World Bank on how their debt sustainability framework can better address the challenges that many developing countries are facing in light of low commodity prices.

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December 15, 2016

Spending Reviews in the European Union

Spending Reviews

Posted by Claude Wendling[1]

Spending reviews have become an increasingly popular tool in the European Union since the global financial crisis of 2007-08. A major policy lesson stemming from the crisis is indeed the need to enhance expenditure performance, which can be defined as the reinforced connection between funding decisions and policy priorities (shall this or that policy be funded with public money?) and subsequently between funding levels and results delivered to end-users (what is the value for public money?). Spending reviews seeking a 'smarter' expenditure allocation across national policy priorities - based on a selective and sustainable expenditure-based fiscal consolidation - appear to European policymakers as a particularly valuable instrument in this respect. A European Commission paper authored by Caroline Vandierendonck in July 2014 provides in this respect useful insights on the design, conduct and implementation of spending reviews and their development in Europe  (http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/publications/economic_paper/2014/ecp525_en.htm).

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December 13, 2016

Public Investment Management Seminar

AFRITAC South

Posted by Peter Murphy[1]

The IMF’s Regional Technical Assistance Center for Southern Africa—AFRITAC South (AFS)—organized a one-week seminar on Public Investment Management (PIM) at the Africa Training Institute facilities in Mauritius from November 28 to December 2, 2016. The seminar was attended by 26 participants from 10 countries[2]. The facilitators[3] outlined the IMF’s new framework (www.imf.org/publicinvestment) for assessing Public Investment Management (PIMA), and discussed with participants the application of the framework through a series of comparative case studies, group and plenary sessions.

During the discussions the participants noted a number of key PIM challenges that adversely affect the efficiency and impact of pubic investment in the region, and discussed options for addressing these challenges. In particular:

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