Medium-Term Framework

October 15, 2013

A PFM View of the New French “Loi Organique”

Posted by Benoit Chevauchez[1]

France is now equipped with a fiscal rule. The organic budget law adopted last December[2] was the French government’s response to the obligations set out in the European Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance (TSCG) signed in March 2012. The Treaty resulted from a process initiated in December 2011 by the European Council, in the wake of the euro crisis. The basic idea of the Treaty is that “Euro zone countries” should adopt national fiscal rules in order to integrate in their own legislation the Maastricht principles of fiscal discipline that are set out in the European treaties.

Before the new treaty was ratified, the French national budget law did not address issues of fiscal sustainability. The French Constitution of 1958 was silent in this regard, even if an amendment adopted in 2008 had introduced the concept of “budget balance over the medium term”, but only as a theoretical principle without any operational impact. Similarly, the 2001 LOLF (loi organique relative aux lois de finances), and its predecessor the 1959 Organic Ordinance, wholly ignored sustainability issues.

In practice, France has had a rather modest record in terms of fiscal sustainability: its EU stability programs have seldom been respected, its macroeconomic assumptions have been frequently optimistic, and its debt level has steadily increased up to 90 percent of GDP. Thus, for France, the adoption of the new organic law (OL) is an important initiative, that might also mark a turning point in its fiscal tradition.

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December 17, 2012

Towards Better Public Expenditure Management: Experience Across Asia

Posted by Suhas Joshi  and Greg Smith

Despite heavy snowfall, government officials from mostly warm countries landed in Seoul for a high-level conference on how to improve public expenditure management (PEM) in the region. The event convened member nations of the Public Expenditure Management Network in Asia (PEMNA). The network, launched in June 2012 in Bangkok, provides opportunities for practitioners across the region to share knowledge and experiences in implementing PEM reforms. PEMNA is modeled on the PEMPAL network that has been operating successfully in central and eastern Europe for several years.

PEMNA comprises two communities of practice (CoPs). The budget CoP is managed by the World Bank, and the Treasury CoP by the IMF. PEMNA’s Steering Committee provides strategic oversight and governance. The Korea Institute of Public Finance (KIPF), a research and training institute associated with the Korean Ministry of Strategy and Finance, provides the secretariat for PEMNA and the two CoPs, and is supported in its work by development partners including the World Bank, AusAID, the IMF, and the OECD.

The demand-driven nature of the network allows members to focus dialogue on solving practical implementation issues.  By sharing common experiences and benchmarking performance with peers, members are able to deepen their understanding of the reform process. Across the budget and treasury areas members recognize that they cannot rely on theory alone and that the cross-fertilization of ideas is essential for the successful design and implementation of reform.

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December 12, 2012

MTEF: Better Than Sliced Bread?

Posted by Richard Allen

Richard Hemming is a co-author of the World Bank’s recently published Beyond the Annual Budget: Global Experience with Medium-Term Expenditure Frameworks. In this conversation with Richard Allen, he talks about the book, the analytical work carried out, and the policy implications.

RA: You are one of the authors of this book. What was your specific role in preparing it?

RH: The team that worked on the book was large. Jim Brumby was the team leader and I was the lead consultant. We were the only people involved in all aspects of the work for the duration of the project. My main roles were to provide guidance on the overall approaches to the book’s analysis, to contribute to some of the analysis, to coordinate the drafting of the book, and to write a significant part of it. The only two areas in which I was not extensively involved were the detailed econometric analysis, for which we put together a really accomplished team, and the assessment of Bank advice on MTEFs. Overall, the book should be viewed very much as a team effort.

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October 12, 2007

Sweden’s New Fiscal Council – helping assure credible fiscal policy

Swedenflag_3 A lively debate about the government’s fiscal policies and the state of public finances puts pressure on transparency and the credibility of budget documents. On August 1, 2007, the Swedish Government set up a Fiscal Council (Finanspolitiska rådet) to provide an independent scrutiny of fiscal policy, promote active public debate, and strengthen the credibility of fiscal policy. The case for strengthening independent review of economic forecasts and fiscal policy has received increasing attention in the past years, and the Swedish initiative may with time provide valuable insight to the effectiveness of such institutions.

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September 27, 2007

New Pacific Assistance Center Publication on Medium-Term Public Finance Frameworks

The IMF-managed Pacific Finance Technical Assistance Center  (PFTAC) recently released a publication on Medium-Term Public Finance Frameworks  (MTF). This is the first in a new series of Handbooks with the purpose to help  building capacity in the public sector for Pacific Island States.

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