Public Financial Management

August 24, 2015

Book Review - PFM Reforms in Latin America


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.

Continue reading "Book Review - PFM Reforms in Latin America" »

July 23, 2015

How to Prepare for a Commodity Price Shock


 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.

Continue reading " How to Prepare for a Commodity Price Shock" »

July 14, 2015

IMF Launches New Public Investment Management Assessment



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


 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.

June 29, 2015

A Very Short Introduction to Accounting

Posted by Tim Irwin[1]


Christopher Nobes’s Accounting: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2014) is about private not public financial management, but it may be of interest to people working on PFM.

For one thing, there are many similarities in the accounting problems faced by firms and governments, even if there are also crucial differences in their objectives, their functions, and their influence on the economies in which they are located. Moreover, Nobes offers a succinct and persuasive explanation of why private-sector accounting developed as it did, in response to the changing needs of businesses and their investors (e.g., why accounts payable and receivable were shown on balance sheets before cash and inventory). That explanation may prompt thoughts about how government accounting should develop.

For another, Nobes’s comments on the rise of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) suggest interesting parallels with the development of International Public Sector Accounting Standards. He writes (pp. 75–76),

  • The UK’s joining the EU was “the main spur to the setting up by accountants of the IASC [International Accounting Standards Committee, the forerunner of the IASB, or International Accounting Standards Board] to try to keep accounting out of the control of governments.”
  • “The EU had always been opposed to the IASC, as a Trojan horse of Anglo-American accounting, but eventually it accepted IFRS as the only practical way of getting harmonized standards for EU capital markets.”
  • “The inability of governments in Roman law countries (e.g. France) to give up control of accounting has led to constant attempts at interference from the EU in the operations of the IASB.”

Nobes also presents interesting data on the number of members of each of several national accounting bodies (pp. 5–6). The chart above expresses these numbers as percentages of each country’s population in 2013, rounded to the nearest decimal point. Nobes notes that international comparisons are “fraught with difficulties” (p. 7) and that there are accountants who are not members of accounting bodies. Nevertheless, the differences are striking. If they reflect differences in the influence of accountants in each country, they may help explain why the Australian and New Zealand governments were among the first to adopt private-sector-like accounting, while the German government has shown little interest in doing so.

[1] Senior Economist, PFM1 Division, Fiscal Affairs Department, IMF 

 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.

June 03, 2015

Job Offer! Public Financial Management (PFM) Advisors, based in Africa (Job Number: 1500535)


The Fiscal Affairs Department (FAD) of the International Monetary Fund is looking for qualified candidates to fill positions as Public Financial Management (PFM) Advisors to be based in Africa. The initial appointment term would be for a period of one year, on a renewable basis, subject to satisfactory performance.

Continue reading " Job Offer! Public Financial Management (PFM) Advisors, based in Africa (Job Number: 1500535)" »

June 02, 2015

JICA’s Technical Cooperation in PFM: Key Principles


Posted by Tomoaki Tanaka[1]

The Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is the world’s largest bilateral development institution, with a budget in 2013 of more than one trillion yen. Out of this budget, 177 billion yen was disbursed on technical cooperation (TC), the remainder on overseas development loans and grants.[2] JICA’s operations cover a variety of sectors, such as Planning and Public Administration, Public Works (infrastructure), Agriculture, Education, Health & Medical Care, and Energy, Commerce & Tourism. JICA is represented in over 150 countries and regions, and has more than 100 overseas offices. Much of JICA’s TC is focused on South and South-Eastern Asia, but other regions where it is active include the Pacific, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, and Eastern Europe.

Public financial management (PFM) has become one of JICA’s most important areas of TC. In JICA’s view, effective PFM systems are fundamental to the development process. If such systems are not in place, the flow and control of financing for key development projects may be jeopardized.

Continue reading " JICA’s Technical Cooperation in PFM: Key Principles" »

April 28, 2015

Job Offer! Resident Public Financial Management (PFM) Advisor (based in Belgrade, Serbia) (Job Number: 1500378)

  Job Offer


The Fiscal Affairs Department (FAD) of the IMF is seeking a highly qualified expert to act as Resident Public Financial Management (PFM) Advisor, based in Belgrade (Serbia). The Advisor’s position would be for an initial period of one year starting June 30, 2015, with the potential for further extension.

The resident advisor will work within the Ministry of Finance to:

• Strengthen the budget preparation process by developing macro-fiscal capacities; broaden budget preparation and analysis; improve medium-term baseline espenditure methodologies; develop medium-term policy costing processes; and integrate the top-down macro-fiscal forecasts and bottom-up expenditure baseline estimates.

• Build fiscal risk assessment capacity by building the analytical and reporting capabilities of a new fiscal risk unit; develop the capability to assess and report on PPP projects; guide collections and analysis of arrears data; and incorporate financial analysis of state owned enterprises into the budget process.

• Provide general assistance in PFM reforms by assisting the coordination and monitoring of the PFM reform program; assist in the migration of budget analysis and decision making processes to the program budget environment; and working with the regional PFM advisor to provide additional assistance as required.


Applicants should hold a university degree or equivalent qualification relevant to the above duties; possess excellent written and oral communication skills in English; have well developed analytical and research skills; be proficient in standard office IT applications (such as Word, PowerPoint, and Excel), and have experience in project management.

Applicants should also possess excellent interpersonal skills, be self-motivating and have an ability to work as part of a team, an aptitude for establishing cooperative relations and sharing technical knowledge with national authorities, as well as capacity to handle sensitive issues with discretion. A flexible and adaptable approach will also be essential in what is a fast moving and challenging work environment.

Preference will be given to candidates with at least ten years of relevant experience, including in a senior or advisory position within a ministry of finance, treasury, or related institution, who have managed or participated in the delivery of TA programs in the above PFM areas. Experience of working in countries with IMF supported programs and/or of working in the region would also be an advantage.

The IMF is committed to achieving a diverse staff, including gender, nationality, culture and educational background.

 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 09, 2015

Why Sovereign Wealth Funds Should Not Invest at Home


Posted by Andrew Bauer[1]

Developing, capital-scarce countries need domestic investment. Governments in countries such as Angola, Mongolia, and Timor-Leste must invest in education, health and public infrastructure if they hope to achieve middle- or high-income status. What’s more, mineral-rich countries have access to large (yet finite) sources of income that can be used to boost domestic investment and help overcome the poverty trap. On this nearly everyone can agree.

In response to this need for domestic investment, some commentators have recently suggested that there might be opportunities for these countries’ sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) to directly invest at home. Nearly every country with significant oil, gas or mineral exports operates a SWF. Already, governments in Angola, Azerbaijan, Iran, Nigeria and Russia, for example, use their SWFs to channel money to special domestic projects.

Continue reading "Why Sovereign Wealth Funds Should Not Invest at Home " »

March 31, 2015

Double Job Announcement! PEFA Secretariat


Job vacancies in the PEFA Secretariat

Are you enthusiastic about improving the effectiveness of public financial management? Do you want to contribute to better public sector management and performance? Are you keen to stimulate public sector reform? You might be one of the people we are seeking to join the PEFA Secretariat.


We have vacancies for a Program Advisor and a Senior Program Advisor
to work in the PEFA Secretariat in Washington DC

You can see more details about who we are looking for here

 About PEFA

The PEFA program aims to strengthen public financial management and accountability systems and improve knowledge of the quality and scope for improving public financial management performance. The program seeks to achieve this aim through the application of PEFA assessment methodology, performance reports, research, analysis and application of PEFA results. The PEFA methodology is in over 150 countries.

The PEFA program is directed by a Steering Committee comprising seven partner organisations: World Bank Group, International Monetary Fund, European Commission, UK Department for International Development, Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The PEFA Secretariat, hosted by the World Bank in Washington DC, assists the Steering Committee in the development and maintenance of the program. It also provides global support to users of the PEFA methodology through advice, guidance, training, research and information.

About the job vacancies

Senior Program Advisor – click here to learn more or apply on line

The right person for this position will be part of the leadership team in the Secretariat. They will manage and deliver on core activities, including:

Ø Technical reviews of planned and draft PEFA assessments 

Ø Research and reporting on the application of the PEFA Framework

Ø Finalization of the upgrade of the PEFA Framework, including development of guidance, training materials, information and liaison with various stakeholders 

Ø Outreach and cooperation with governments and organisations with an interest in PEFA or related diagnostic tools

Ø Support to clients, peer learning, tracking progress, innovation and active engagement, including training, developing new products and building relationships

The Senior Program Advisor will have a track record of at least 8 years’ experience in public financial management or related disciplines. They will have relevant post-graduate qualifications and demonstrate significant achievements as a leader and manager. They will have a good understanding of the PEFA Framework and experience in application and/or analysis of PEFA assessments. They will have strong inter-personal skills and demonstrated ability to speak and write effectively in English. Ideally they will also be able to work in at least one other language used in PEFA reports (French, Spanish and Portuguese).

Applications for Senior Advisor are to be made through the World Bank job center. The job reference is 150459. Please do not submit your application to the Secretariat directly.


Program Advisor -  click here to learn more or apply on line

The right person for this job will be a core member of the PEFA Secretariat team. They will work independently and with other team members on:

Ø Technical reviews of planned and draft PEFA assessments 

Ø Research and reporting on the application of the PEFA Framework

Ø Finalization of the upgrade of the PEFA Framework, including development of guidance, training materials, information and liaison with various stakeholders 

Ø Support to clients, peer learning, tracking progress, innovation and active engagement, including training, developing new products and building relationships

The Program Advisor will have a track record of at least 4 years’ experience in public financial management or related disciplines. They will have relevant post-graduate qualifications and demonstrate ability to work effectively in a team. They will have a good understanding of the PEFA Framework and ideally will have some experience in application and/or analysis of PEFA assessments. They will have strong inter-personal skills and demonstrated ability to speak and write effectively in English. It is desirable that they are also able to work in one other language used in PEFA reports (French, Spanish and Portuguese).

Applications are to be made through the World Bank job center.  The job reference is 150467Please do not send applications to the Secretariat directly.


If you want more information about PEFA or the Secretariat, please visit our website at: or send us an email at



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.

March 03, 2015

New Governance Arrangements for the IPSAS Board


Posted by Delphine Moretti

Following a year-long consultation, the IMF-OECD-World Bank-chaired Review Group on the Governance of International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) has today issued its recommendations for strengthening the oversight of the IPSAS Board. They include the establishment of a new Public Interest Committee whose founding members will be the IMF, OECD, World Bank, and INTOSAI and a new Consultative Advisory Group comprised of producers and users of government financial statements.

As discussed several times on this blog and in the IMF’s 2012 paper on “Fiscal Transparency, Accountability, and Risk”, the global financial crisis highlighted the significant gaps and weaknesses in public sector accounting practices and underscored the need for more comprehensive, reliable, and timely financial reporting by governments. These concerns were echoed by the G-20 at their meeting in Moscow in February 2013, when they called on the IMF, World Bank, and OECD to work to improve the transparency and comparability of public sector financial reporting.

Continue reading "New Governance Arrangements for the IPSAS Board" »

February 20, 2015

Job Offer! Public Financial Management Resident Advisor (based in Dakar, Senegal) (Job Number: 1500093)



The Fiscal Affairs Department (FAD) of the IMF is looking for a well-qualified expert to fill a Public Financial Management (PFM) Resident Advisor position in the Ministry for Economy, Finance, and Planning of Senegal, based in Dakar. The Advisor’s appointment term would be for a period of one year, on a renewable basis, subject to satisfactory performance.

The Advisor will provide technical assistance (TA) on a range of PFM areas and will focus on macrofiscal and policy design and implementation, budget preparation and execution, and public investment management. He/she will more generally contribute to institutional reform and capacity building. The position is opened as part of a TA project designed to support the aforementioned PFM areas, and the Advisor will actively participate in the management of the project and the delivery of all TA activities supported by it.

Continue reading "Job Offer! Public Financial Management Resident Advisor (based in Dakar, Senegal) (Job Number: 1500093)" »

February 12, 2015

IMF Job Offer! Public Financial Management Resident Advisor

Job Description: Public Financial Management Resident Advisor (based in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire) (Job Number: 1500092)


The Fiscal Affairs Department (FAD) of the IMF is looking for a well-qualified expert to fill a Public Financial Management (PFM) Resident Advisor position at the West African Regional Technical Assistance Center (West AFRITAC), established in 2003 and based in Bamako, Mali. The Advisor’s appointment term would be for a period of one year, on a renewable basis, subject to satisfactory performance.

The Advisor will provide technical assistance (TA) on a range of PFM areas to the ten (10) countries covered by West AFRITAC, namely Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, and Togo. The Advisor’s work program will focus on treasury management and government accounting and reporting but will also cover mainly the following PFM areas: treasury operations, cash management,  internal control and audit and the overall legal and regulatory framework.

Continue reading "IMF Job Offer! Public Financial Management Resident Advisor" »

February 06, 2015

Strengthening PFM in the Central African Republic


Posted by Olivier Benon, Abdoulaye Touré and Marie-Christine Uguen[1]

From November 24—28, 2014, AFRITAC Central (AFC) organized a seminar in Douala, Cameroon, on rebuilding the budgetary and accounting  functions of the Central African Republic (CAR). The workshop was attended by 28 finance officials from CAR’s Ministry of Finance and Budget, the Ministry of Economy and Development, several line ministries (Health, Education, Public Service, and Defense) and the central bank (BEAC).

Background and objectives

Because of the tense security situation in Bangui since 2014, AFC has been unable to deliver technical assistance (TA) in CAR, and have instead used safe havens in neighboring countries such as Cameroon. The November workshop was the first of a series of similar events dedicated exclusively to CAR officials during FY2015.

Continue reading "Strengthening PFM in the Central African Republic " »

February 03, 2015

What Drives Improvements in PFM Performance?


Posted by Verena Fritz, Marijn Verhoeven and Stephanie Sweet

Reforms of public financial management (PFM) systems – pursued by many countries and supported by development partners -- have attracted considerable debate and analysis in recent years. Significant variation in progress achieved and lack of broad-based and sustained improvements in metrics of PFM performance, as reflected in the World Bank’s CPIA ratings and PEFA scores, suggests to many observers that outcomes have not matched reform efforts and expectations. 

This has led to a search for better solutions in two directions: first, grounding reform efforts in stronger problem analysis, and based on this, a better fit and sequencing of reform approaches to specific country circumstances and identified bottlenecks. Second, seeking a better understanding of non-technical aspects and, in particular, the role of political economy drivers in influencing which PFM reforms are pursued, in which countries, and with what degree of success. ‘Doing things differently’ along these lines sounds promising, but reformers and development partners may well question whether we know enough to pursue such alternative approaches on a wider scale. 

Continue reading "What Drives Improvements in PFM Performance?" »

January 30, 2015

Angels and Demons – the Political Economy of PFM Reform

 Angels and Demons
Posted by Richard Allen1

In a thought-provoking presentation during the IMF Fiscal Affairs Department’s (FAD) 50th Anniversary Conference on December 5, 2014, Professor Ravi Kanbur of Cornell University analyzed the intellectual origins and roots of FAD.  In his view, these roots derive not from the influence of Keynes, one of the founding fathers of the IMF, who was more concerned with issues of monetary policy and balance of payments stabilization than with fiscal policy. A much stronger influence on FAD’s development was one of Keynes’ illustrious colleagues at Cambridge University, Arthur Pigou. Professor Kanbur’s main thesis [Presentation_Available here (.ppt)], however, was that FAD, while responsible for many important applications of fiscal policy, had taken little advantage of important recent work on political economy analysis, and the application of behavioral economics to fiscal issues. These developments derive from the work of notable economists such as Knut Wicksell and 2002 Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman. Another strong influence has been the work on public choice theory and the economics of state bureaucracy, a line running from Pareto, through the great Italian school of public finance to the work of scholars such as Buchanan, Tullock and Peacock.

Continue reading "Angels and Demons – the Political Economy of PFM Reform" »

January 28, 2015

PEFA NEWS FLASH! (33) - Release of the Country Testing Version of the Upgraded PFM Framework


Following the public consultation on the draft upgraded PEFA indicator set, the PEFA Partners are pleased to release a version of the entire upgraded PFM Performance Measurement Framework for use in testing at country level– the ‘testing version’ – which incorporates guidance on the indicators and PFM performance report content, available here. A short explanation of changes from the consultation draft is available here.

Continue reading "PEFA NEWS FLASH! (33) - Release of the Country Testing Version of the Upgraded PFM Framework" »

January 27, 2015

Book Announcement: Reconstructing Iraq's Budgetary Institutions: Coalition State Building After Saddam

  Savage, J.D
Posted by James D. Savage, University of Virginia

The invasion of Iraq led to a costly nine-year state-building and reconstruction effort. Reconstructing Iraq's budgetary institutions proved to be a vital element of the state-building project, as allocating Iraq's growing oil revenues to pay salaries and pensions, build infrastructure, and provide essential public services played a key role in the Coalition's counterinsurgency strategy.  Employing a historical institutionalist approach, this book first explores the Ottoman, British, and Ba'athist origins of Iraq's budgetary institutions. The book next examines American pre-war planning, the Coalition Provisional Authority's rule making and budgeting following the invasion of Iraq in 2003, and the mixed success of the Coalition's capacity-building programs initiated throughout the occupation. The budgetary process introduced by the Coalition offered a source of institutional stability in the midst of insurgency, sectarian violence, economic uncertainty, and occupation. This book explores the problem of "outsiders" building states, contributes to a more comprehensive evaluation of the Coalition in Iraq, addresses the question of why Iraqis took ownership of some Coalition-generated institutions and not others, and helps explain the nature of institutional change.

Continue reading "Book Announcement: Reconstructing Iraq's Budgetary Institutions: Coalition State Building After Saddam" »

January 15, 2015

PFM Reform: Lessons, Promises and Tears

Cambodia Conferece

Posted by Suhas Joshi and Sandeep Saxena[1]

If you don’t know where you are heading you will not understand why you are walking. This was the key message that emerged from the Asia Regional PFM Conference, held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on November 25-26, 2014. The event was jointly organized by the Cambodian Ministry of Economy and Finance and the Fiscal Affairs Department of the IMF. Around 180 participants from 15 countries discussed the wide range of PFM reforms undertaken in the region and elsewhere in the world, the reasons behind their success and failure, and the lessons that could be learnt from such failure.

Continue reading "PFM Reform: Lessons, Promises and Tears" »

December 18, 2014


NewsFlash - Feedback from stakeholders to the draft upgraded indicator set


On August 7th 2014, the PEFA Secretariat invited comments from stakeholders on the draft of the upgraded PEFA indicators’ set. By the close of the public consultation period at the end of October, 74 written submissions had been received from a variety of stakeholders.

Continue reading "PEFA NEWS FLASH! " »

December 08, 2014

IPSAS: Guidelines And Realism Needed for Developing Countries


Posted by Sylva Okolieaboh[1] and Delphine Moretti[2]

IPSAS adoption both in the OECD and the developing world has been discussed extensively in recent years, including on this blog. However, while many experts have expressed opinions on these standards, few practitioners have provided so far an account of the questions raised by the adoption of IPSAS in their countries, and feedback on the main issues faced in implementing these standards. The guidance note presented in this post, written by Sylva Okolieaboh, is of general relevance to countries wanting to introduce IPSAS. It sets out lessons learned from the ongoing experience in a number of African countries including Nigeria, and aims to provide true-to-life insights.

Continue reading " IPSAS: Guidelines And Realism Needed for Developing Countries " »

November 17, 2014

How Far Can the IMF’s New Fiscal Transparency Code Take Us?


Posted by Carlos Scartascini [1]

The Fiscal Affairs Department at the IMF has been a (if not the) leader on fiscal research, policy analysis, and data generation in the world for the last 50 years. It has influenced the work of scholars, contributed to the development of professionals and policymakers, and more importantly, had a direct impact on the lives of millions of people in the developed and developing world.

Continue reading "How Far Can the IMF’s New Fiscal Transparency Code Take Us? " »

November 10, 2014

A New FMIS Handbook


Posted by Cem Dener[1]

Implementing Financial Management Information System (FMIS) solutions is not an easy task, and entails the allocation of significant resources and substantial capacity building efforts. FMIS can be a powerful tool, if designed to meet specific user requirements, and well aligned to a country’s PFM reform strategy and a realistic action plan. Moreover, the development of a countrywide FMIS solution and information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure will be more useful when it is an integral part of a coherent national e-Government strategy. The risks of supply-driven or market-driven choices of FMIS solutions are high. They should be counter-balanced by giving due attention to the design of a tool that is both flexible and responsive to the needs of its ultimate users. FMIS systems are no replacement for good management and robust internal controls, and will not be very useful if budget coverage itself is limited, or budget planning/execution practices are not well established or integrated.

Continue reading "A New FMIS Handbook" »

October 08, 2014

IMF-World Bank Seminar on New Fiscal Transparency Code and PEFA Framework

Posted by Richard Hughes1

On October 6, the 2014 IMF-World Bank Annual Meetings kicked off with a seminar on the new Fiscal Transparency Code and PEFA Framework, two of the key international standards for fiscal disclosure and management.

This joint IMF-World Bank event provided an opportunity to learn about and discuss the changes to these important tools for benchmarking the quality of countries’ fiscal transparency and management practices. It also marked the official launch of the public consultation of the fourth and final pillar of the Fiscal Transparency Code on Natural Resource Revenue Management.

Continue reading "IMF-World Bank Seminar on New Fiscal Transparency Code and PEFA Framework" »

October 01, 2014

Modernizing Treasury Management in Developing Countries

Posted by Lewis Murara, Suhas Joshi and Mark Silins1

For one fully packed week, thirty-one participants from twenty Asian countries recently participated in a course at the IMF’s Singapore Regional Training Institute (STI) to discuss how to modernize treasury management in their countries, drawing from international experience . This course evolved from earlier courses, presented at the STI over the last three years, on the sequencing of PFM reforms. It was decided that a more focused and targeted course on treasury management would add most value. The present course was designed to dovetail neatly with technical assistance provided by the IMF’s Fiscal Affairs Department (FAD) in the region.

Continue reading "Modernizing Treasury Management in Developing Countries" »

May 20, 2014

Budget Institutions Matter

Posted by Holger van Eden
G20 pix blog post
Most economists would agree that institutions help shape economic and fiscal outcomes. But which institutions really matter, and to what extent, is less clear. A recent IMF Board Paper and annex featuring country evaluations produced by the Fiscal Affairs Department, which was presented today here in Washington, shines a light on the G-20 countries’ efforts to strengthen their budget institutions in the wake of the global financial crisis, and evaluates their impact on fiscal policy. In particular, it asks whether strong budget institutions helped these countries during the 2010–13 period to cope with the substantial fiscal consolidation needs that arose after the Great Recession. The evidence suggests that these institutions have indeed been important.

Continue reading "Budget Institutions Matter" »

April 18, 2014

 Posted by Benoit Taiclet 

Lagarde blog (8)












IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde’s visit to Bamako in January took place while Mali is still healing its historical wounds. In 2012, the defeat of the army against insurgents led to a coup d’état which was met with condemnation by the international community and sanctions by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Faced with the withdrawal of external funding, Mali downsized budget appropriations by one-third and fended off challenges to budget discipline. In spite of these efforts, Mali’s total debt rose by 2 percentage points to 35 percent of GDP.

Continue reading "" »

January 14, 2014

Barcelona Promotes Fiscal Health and Strong Economic Performance

Posted by Jordi Baños-Rovira[1]

Barcelona City Council has shown what can be done in turning around a huge fiscal imbalances in 2009-11 into a moderate level of debt and a fiscal surplus in 2013. The budget for the fiscal year 2014 shows an 11% increase in expenditures (22% for capital expenditures), prioritizing programs that contribute to the protection of the most vulnerable people and reinforce economic growth, while maintaining a fiscal surplus, freezing tax rates and maintaining a moderate level of debt.

Continue reading "Barcelona Promotes Fiscal Health and Strong Economic Performance" »

December 27, 2013

PEFA Newsflash: Revising the PEFA Performance Measurement Framework

Posted by the PEFA Secretariat

The PEFA Program, launched in 2001, has succeeded in creating a credible and comprehensive Framework for the assessment of PFM functionality, which has been successfully applied in a large number of countries: countries with different income levels; different administrative traditions; and in different geographical regions.

The current Framework, although continuing to be relevant and applicable in a wide range of contexts, is being revised with the twin objectives of enhancing its relevance (by recognizing the developments in accepted good practice” which have taken place since it was launched) while preserving comparability over time, to the extent possible.

At their meeting in Paris in early December, the PEFA Partners made significant progress towards finalizing the revision of the Framework, including adding new indicators and modifying several existing dimensions in the light of the evolution in what constitutes “generally accepted good practice”.

The Partners also agreed on a process to test and consult Stakeholders on the revised Framework. The testing will have two distinct phases, the first of which will be restricted to a small number of volunteer countries where the Secretariat will support the assessment team to gather the data required to rate the indicators. Following this initial testing, the draft will be released for a period for Stakeholders to offer comments, in addition to which, opportunities will be sought to link with international and regional events in the area of public financial management and accountability, and the PEFA Partners will also arrange dedicated events where detailed discussions can take place.

Following the consultation period, the draft Framework will be modified as necessary before the second, more substantial testing phase is undertaken, which will be designed to ensure that the Framework is applicable across a wide range of countries contexts and different heritages. The revised Framework is expected to be released in 2015.

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. 

December 16, 2013

ICGFM Winter Conference 2013

Posted by Carla Sateriale

The IMF’s Fiscal Affairs Department (FAD) hosted this year’s Winter Conference of the International Consortium on Governmental Financial Management (ICGFM) from December 9-11, 2013. Despite the snowfall in Washington, the attendees’ enthusiasm for PFM innovations, which was the theme of the conference, was not dampened. Dozens of officials and PFM professionals from various development organizations, governments and NGOs convened for discussions on a variety of topics related to PFM, from accrual accounting to climate change.

IMF Division Chief Richard Hughes’s opening remarks highlighted worldwide innovations in financial management, including the trend of independent fiscal councils being established, the increasing number of sovereign wealth funds around the world, and the growing adoption of accrual accounting. Major events during the conference included a presentation by Harvard’s Matt Andrews on the role of governance in development, Xavier Debrun’s exposition of FAD research of the efficacy of fiscal councils, and a discussion panel on PFM innovations headed by Richard Hughes and the World Bank’s William Dorotinsky.

The next ICGFM event will be its annual training course, from May 18-23, 2014 in Miami, Florida. The theme of it will be “Good Public Financial Management Practices in a Period of Global Adjustment.”

Download ICGFM Winter Conference 2013 Program

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. 

November 26, 2013

New Blood for FAD

Torben Hansen (below left), formerly the Deputy Permanent Secretary responsible for the budget at the Ministry of Finance in Denmark, has recently joined the Fiscal Affairs Department of the IMF as a Deputy Division Chief responsible for public financial management. Torben was interviewed by the PFM Blog about his career and what he expects to bring to the new position.

  Torben 2  Richard 2

Q: Why did you decide to join FAD? You have had a varied career working in the Danish finance ministry and elsewhere. What skills, experience and ideas do you expect to bring to the new job?

After working more than 20 years in the Danish finance ministry, the decision to join FAD is a unique opportunity to move my career forward in an international setting. I felt the time was right to seek new challenges, and the new position is a perfect match in terms of both my competencies and professional interests. What I can bring to the new job is first and foremost the practical experience of working with politicians and senior officials in a finance ministry and being at the core of the decision-making processes of government. Setting up the right procedures, institutions and incentives are crucial elements in maintaining a well functioning PFM system. I also hope to bring some knowledge and understanding of change management processes, and not least how difficult these are. At the end of the day, change is about people. And governmental organizations are world champions in avoiding, even opposing, change. Finance ministries have to learn how to work around these obstacles.

Continue reading "New Blood for FAD" »

November 21, 2013

Budgeting in the Real World - What Do We Know? What Should We Do?

This is the keynote speech given last week, November 13th, by Antoinette Sayeh, Director of the IMF’s African Department at the UK’s Overseas Development Institute’s annual CAPE Conference in London on why PFM matters, why reforms are difficult, and what we know to make them successful…..


I am delighted to have the opportunity to deliver this keynote address and would like to thank Messrs. Ed Hedger, Kevin Watkins, and Philip Krause for inviting me to this important conference and for that generous introduction.

Let me start by saying that from the IMF’s perspective, good governance is important for countries at all stages of development. Transparent government accounts and effective public resource management are preconditions for sustained economic growth and prosperity. Indeed, budget formulation, implementation, and oversight lie at the core of good economic governance. Strong budget institutions are essential for countries to achieve sound fiscal policies and effective expenditure programs. Budgets can only be spent once. Getting the priorities right all the way from formulation to execution, and being efficient at it, is all the more important. Transparency and fairness are most important in ensuring that expenditures are aligned with broadly agreed priorities, and in securing society’s buy-in. While most can agree to the underlying principles, the hard part is to have systems and capacity in place that actually ensure that they are respected all along the process chain. As so often, the devil is in the detail. 

Continue reading "Budgeting in the Real World - What Do We Know? What Should We Do?" »

November 20, 2013

Crowd Sourcing Request: A List of All International Comparative PFM Data!

Posted by David Gentry

Public Financial Management (PFM) data sources are rapidly increasing in number and quality. In the last dozen years several new major data sets have been established, such as the PEFA (Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability) Secretariat’s listing of country assessments, the Open Budget Initiative’s Open Budget Survey results, and the IMF’s Fiscal Rules Dataset. Data sets increasingly are well defined, standardized, updated regularly, and often aligned with key analytical issues. They cover at least a large subset of countries worldwide.

An initial list of PFM data sources is shown below. Readers of the PFM Blog are invited to suggest additions, keeping in mind the criteria of useful data described in the opening paragraph above. An updated list, based on reader submissions, will appear in the Blog in the near future.  

Continue reading "Crowd Sourcing Request: A List of All International Comparative PFM Data!" »

November 11, 2013

Online PFM Conference: ODI Event Being Streamed Live this Week

Posted by Ryan Flynn

The Overseas Development Institute (ODI) is one of the UK's leading independent think tanks on international development and humanitarian issues. It is organizing a major conference this week: the 2013 CAPE Conference: budgeting in the real world. CAPE stands for Centre for Aid and Public Expenditure, which is hosted by ODI. It aims to shape and drive the agenda for international development assistance, as well as efficient and effective public spending for development at the country level.

The conference will focus on PFM and budgeting in developing countries. The whole two-days (13 & 14 November) will be streamed live online, and questions fielded through social media (#CAPE2013) will be answered by speakers and panellist. You can register to attend here.

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November 06, 2013

Book Review: The International Handbook of Public Financial Management[1]

Posted by Philip Joyce and Juan Pablo Martinez Guzman[2]

PFM handbook
Over the last two decades, public financial management (PFM) has been at the core of many government reforms around the world.  As a subject with many moving parts, the field has become distinctively broad and diverse, with a great array of topics that are strongly linked with each other. For that reason, creating a comprehensive book that covers most, if not all, of the PFM related topics, is a daunting (some might say impossible) task. Richard Allen, Richard Hemming and Barry Potter, three former staff members of the Fiscal Affairs Department of the IMF, however, have managed to accomplish such an objective with the publication of the new International Handbook of Public Financial Management.  The book’s length (more than 900 pages) is itself a testament to the breadth of the field.

In addition to the broad range of topics that make this book almost inarguably the most comprehensive PFM publication to date, it is important to describe two overarching characteristics that make it unique. First, it provides an extraordinary combination of academic knowledge and empirical evidence. Thus, every topic covered is analyzed both through the lens of how ideal PFM systems should be designed and how they are to be implemented given specific country scenarios. Each chapter of the book combines evidence from developed and developing countries; emphasizing institutional arrangements, political economy constraints, and the interrelations between systems. This makes this book an excellent guide for policymakers, practitioners, and academics. Second, this book benefits from the views of the different authors, many of whom are the leading experts on the topics covered by the many chapters. Readers will benefit greatly not just from learning about the topics, but by learning about them from these world-reckoned experts.

Continue reading "Book Review: The International Handbook of Public Financial Management[1]" »

October 10, 2013

Annual Meetings Kicks Off with Talks on Fiscal Transparency

Posted by Rachel F. Wang

Many of the key players committed to promoting greater fiscal transparency met on Tuesday for one of the first events of the 2013 IMF-World Bank Annual Meetings.

The Joint IMF-World Bank Seminar entitled “Strengthening Fiscal Transparency and Government Accounting” brought together representatives from international organizations, national governments, think tanks, professional organizations, and civil society to discuss how to promote greater fiscal openness and improve the information base for fiscal decision-making.

The event was kicked off with a welcome address from Bertrand Badré, Managing Director and World Bank Group Chief Financial Officer, and included two panel discussions on

  • Strengthening fiscal transparency standards and practices chaired by Richard Hughes, Division Chief in the IMF’s Fiscal Affairs Department), and
  • Improving government accounting chaired by Chuck McDonough, Vice President and Controller at the World Bank). 

Panelists included Moritz Kramer from Standard & Poor’s, Phil Sinnett from the PEFA Secretariat, Vivek Ramkumar from the International Budget Partnership, Jo Marie Griesgraber from New Rules for Global Finance Coalition, Devantri Kaur Santa Sigh from the Malaysian Ministry of Finance, Gerhard Steger from the Austrian Ministry of Finance, Fayez Choudhury from IFAC, and Ron Salole from IPSAS board.

Discussions ranged over a variety of areas, including the revision of the IMF’s fiscal transparency code and new fiscal transparency assessment; how fiscal transparency feeds into credit ratings and vice versa; the harmonization of different transparency-related norms and standards; the role that civil society has played in promoting greater fiscal openness by governments; and the opportunities and challenges in moving from cash to accrual accounting.

The keynote address, given by Gerd Schwartz, Deputy Director of the IMF Fiscal Affairs Department set the tone for the morning’s discussion.  The text of his speech is provided below:

I would like to use this opportunity to talk about the importance of fiscal transparency for fiscal sustainability and discuss the work underway to improve both standards and practices.  More specifically, there are four issues I would like to cover:

  • First, I would like to highlight the progress made in promoting greater fiscal transparency over the past decade, thanks to collective efforts of many of the organizations represented in this room.
  • Second, I would like to discuss some of the lessons of the economic crisis regarding the adequacy of existing fiscal transparency standards and practices.
  • Third,  I would like to provide you with an update of the IMF’s ongoing work on strengthening its evaluation tools in the fiscal transparency area; and
  • Finally, I would like to review the broader agenda on fiscal transparency and government financial disclosure.

Continue reading "Annual Meetings Kicks Off with Talks on Fiscal Transparency" »

August 15, 2013

The Long and Winding……..Fight Against Corruption

Posted by Chris Iles

Corruption is a global scourge.  In the public sector it can be defined as the diversion of public resources or the misuse of public authority for personal gain. It threatens political, social and economic stability, and undermines economic growth and development by distorting the delivery of public goods and services. Transparency International calls it one of the major threats facing society and has worked hard to focus international attention on reducing corruption in the public sphere. Preventing corruption has become a key policy priority for donors, especially in fragile or conflict-affected countries.

A recent paper[1] by Norway’s U4 Anti-corruption Resource Centre reviews how much we know about the effectiveness of different anti-corruption interventions.  The answer seems to be “not much”.  The paper reviews the fairly scant literature on the impact on corruption of various reforms such as direct budgetary support, PFM technical assistance, using donor systems and applying international norms. Evidence presented by the reviewed literature suggests that most anti-corruption measures are of disputable benefit.

The notable outlier seems to be PFM reform; there is, according to the study, (relatively) strong evidence that PFM reforms have a substantial anti-corruption impact. This is gratifying for PFM practitioners but also somewhat surprising since reducing corruption is not the explicit goal of PFM reform.

Continue reading "The Long and Winding……..Fight Against Corruption" »

July 23, 2013

Now You See It, Now You Don’t...

Posted by Cem Dener and Saw Young (Sandy) Min [1]

Cem dener
The World Bank Study “Financial Management Information Systems and Open Budget Data: Do governments report on where the money goes?” (completed in June 2013) and new data set are now publicly available from the FMIS Community of Practice or the World Bank PRMPS Public Finance web site.

Within the last decade, FMIS has become a critical part of improving budget transparency. Disclosure of public finance information to citizens through FMIS platforms can improve transparency, if the published budget data are accurate, easily accessible and meaningful. Fiscal transparency can in turn improve trust in government, if the public interpret the motives for publishing the information positively, and an open budget data policy is sustained for long periods. Despite all efforts, designing robust FMIS solutions to capture all financial activities and publish open budget data, and measuring the effects of FMIS on budget transparency continue to be major challenges.

Continue reading "Now You See It, Now You Don’t..." »

June 05, 2013

Japan Approves Continued Funding for IMF Technical Assistance to South Eastern Europe

Posted by Rocio Sarmiento[1]

Since 2009, the Fiscal Affairs Department (FAD) of the IMF has been providing considerable technical assistance (TA) to South East European (SEE) countries through a Regional Program that is sponsored by the Japanese Government, and is implemented in close cooperation with the Center for Excellence in Finance (CEF), based in Ljubljana, Slovenia. The overarching objective of the Program is to strengthen fiscal management capacity to ensure that all SEE countries—EU member and non-EU member countries alike—have the necessary capacity to design and implement measures to support fiscal consolidation and long-term fiscal sustainability.

The fiscal consolidation efforts of SEE governments have been supported by strengthening fiscal controls, improving the allocation of budgetary resources and more cost-effective service delivery, while efforts to protect revenue through more efficient revenue administration have focused on facilitating reform efforts that over time should bring the region’s tax administrations on par with modern European counterparts, and achieve consistency in the application of tax administration practices throughout the region.

Continue reading "Japan Approves Continued Funding for IMF Technical Assistance to South Eastern Europe" »

May 30, 2013

Who Never Talks about Money and Religion...?

Posted by Yasemin Hurcan and Gregory Horman

Sukuk[1] is an Arabic word that is used to define borrowing instruments issued in line with Islamic norms, the sharia. Sukuk are not limited to private sector borrowers. Increasingly, these instruments are being issued by governments to finance the public sector. Although there is already a sizeable body of literature on the capital market aspects of sovereign sukuk issuance, the public financial management (PFM) dimension of sukuk has not been widely discussed. The implications for areas such as budgeting, reporting, and accounting are not insignificant.

Malaysia is recognized as one of the pioneers of sovereign sukuk issuance, and these instruments make up a significant share of the total public sector debt. Qatar and Bahrain are also notable issuers of sukuk, and in recent years Pakistan has added sukuk to its borrowing mix. In October 2012, Turkey, too, joined the group of countries issuing sovereign sukuk. Although sovereign sukuk issuances have so far been made only by countries where sharia is the governing law, or the population is predominantly Muslim, other countries have investigated sukuk as an opportunity to broaden their sources of financing. In 2008, for example, the UK Debt Management Office consulted with the market to find out the possibility of issuing sukuk as an additional borrowing instrument. These developments suggest that the use of sukuk instruments for sovereign borrowing is likely to increase in the coming years.  

Continue reading "Who Never Talks about Money and Religion...?" »

April 18, 2013

Managing Public Finances Is Vital to Economic Prosperity

As posted on IMF Survey Online

Across the world many countries are now grappling with restoring sound and sustainable public finances: the way governments manage their budgets today will have profound economic effects in the years ahead. A new book by the IMF looks at reforms introduced by governments over the past two decades to improve management of public finances. These innovative ideas and reforms are changing the landscape of public finances and eventually aim to fundamentally change the way governments manage the public’s money.

The global financial and economic crisis highlighted the importance of sound public financial management in ensuring that well-designed fiscal policies are implemented effectively. Sound management of public finances means maintaining a sustainable fiscal position, allocating resources efficiently, and delivering public goods and services effectively.

The book looks at how reforms to public financial management make use of new information, processes, and rules to change the behavior of politicians and public servants to counter the ongoing challenges of managing government’s money. As identified in the book, too often the tendency for policy makers is to spend rather than save in good times; to focus on the short term; and to ignore the future costs of new policies, underlying fiscal risk, and the true state of public finances.

“The global crisis has highlighted that reforming governments’ management of public finances is no longer an option but a necessity. There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution—reforms need to be tailored to countries’ individual circumstances,” said IMF Deputy Managing Director, Min Zhu, who addressed officials, journalists, and academics gathered at a special seminar to discuss the findings in the book.

Continue reading "Managing Public Finances Is Vital to Economic Prosperity" »

December 27, 2012

ICGFM 2012 Winter Conference

Posted by Sailendra Pattanayak

The International Consortium on Governmental Financial Management (ICGFM) held its Winter Conference on Good Public Financial Management Practices in a Period of Global Adjustment in Washington, DC during December 10–12, 2012. This was co-hosted by the Fiscal Affairs Department (FAD) of the IMF. The Global Initiative for Fiscal Transparency (GIFT) also partnered with the ICGFM for this conference.

The conference was attended by high-level officials from ministries of finance, state audit institutions and other government ministries/agencies, and members of parliament of more than 25 countries, as well as representatives from international organizations, rating agencies, think tanks, the donor community, civil society groups, and academia. The welcome address was delivered by Ms. Linda Fealing, President, ICGFM, followed by opening remarks from Mr. Sanjeev Gupta, FAD Deputy Director. (Download ICGFM conference agenda Dec 2012.)

Continue reading "ICGFM 2012 Winter Conference" »

November 05, 2012

The Importance of Strengthening PFM at the Sub-National Level in Sub-Saharan Africa

Posted by Stephan Klingebiel and Timo Mahn[1]

The ongoing trend of decentralizing governance responsibilities to the sub-national level in many countries in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is likely to continue in the near future. In order to achieve its objectives, it will be crucial that this transfer of responsibilities will be matched by equal efforts to increase sub-national Public Financial Management (PFM) capacity.

As a cross-cutting issue of domestic accountability systems and of development policy, PFM lies at the heart of countries’ governance systems. It therefore comes as no surprise that PFM systems at the level of the central state have become one of the key reform areas in developing countries in SSA. At the same time, however, the capacity of, and the conditions for PFM at the sub-national tiers of government to date have received much less attention. While there are signs of a growing demand for sub-national PFM approaches, development partners so far have not fully come to terms with the implications of this trend in designing their technical and financial support programs.

Continue reading "The Importance of Strengthening PFM at the Sub-National Level in Sub-Saharan Africa" »

November 02, 2012

Views from the Field No. 6 – The Caribbean

Posted by Eileen Browne

Richard Allen interviewed Eileen Browne, FAD’s PFM Advisor in the Caribbean Regional Technical Assistance Center (CARTAC) for the latest in the series “Views from the Field”.

RA:  What makes the technical assistance CARTAC offers different?

EZB:  Two things:  the people, culture and institutions of the Caribbean region and CARTAC’s focus on member-driven TA efforts.

The Caribbean is a constellation of small islands and coastal nations and CARTAC serves 20 English-speaking ones, many of which celebrated their 50th anniversary of independence this year.  Jamaica is the largest island with 3 million inhabitants; Trinidad and Tobago is the second in size with 1.2 million; Barbados is the third with 0.25 million and the rest of the nations are smaller.  Eight of them have formed a currency union. The Caribbean enjoys middle-income status yet shares many institutional deficits with much poorer countries. 

Continue reading "Views from the Field No. 6 – The Caribbean" »

November 01, 2012

Seeing Our Way Through The Crisis: Why We Need Fiscal Transparency

Posted by Carlo Cottarelli and previously published on iMFdirect

Without good fiscal information, governments can’t understand the fiscal risks they face or make good budget decisions. And unless that information is made public, citizens and their legislatures can’t hold governments accountable for those decisions.

Fiscal transparency—the public availability of timely, reliable, and relevant data on the past, present, and future state of the public finances—is thus to the foundation of effective fiscal management.

A new paper from the IMF on fiscal transparency, accountability, and risk considers the progress we have made in opening up the “black box” of fiscal policymaking over the past decade, the lessons of the recent crisis for current fiscal reporting standards and practices, and the steps we need to take to revitalize the global fiscal transparency effort.

Continue reading "Seeing Our Way Through The Crisis: Why We Need Fiscal Transparency" »

October 25, 2012

Views from the Field No. 5 – Nepal

Posted by Udaya Pant

Richard Allen interviewed Udaya Pant, FAD’s PFM Advisor in Nepal for the latest in the series “Views from the Field”.  For the first time on the Blog, the interview includes a Poem on PFM, written by Udaya Pant!

RA:  What have been the challenges you experienced in moving to Nepal? How have you dealt with these challenges?

UP:  I first came to Nepal in August 2009, primarily to implement the treasury single account (TSA), using a TSA implementation study report by FAD.  I took a break of about six months from December 2011 and rejoined in June 2012 with a broadened mandate covering almost all aspects of PFM.

Nepal suffers from political uncertainty and turmoil much of the time.  This creates a problem of continuity.  The present Government (in a caretaker role for the past six months) is the fourth one in the last three years. The budget cycle is not respected.  Civil servants have to rotate after every two years. The capacity to implement reforms is low and fiduciary risk in the country very high. I have seen four Prime Ministers, no regular Auditor General, and eight Financial Comptroller Generals (FCGs).  Another problem is that all government business is conducted in the Nepali language and few officials speak English.

Continue reading "Views from the Field No. 5 – Nepal" »

October 11, 2012

Views from the Field No. 3 – Liberia

Posted by Kubai Khasiani

For the third in our series of “Views from the Field” Richard Allen interviewed Kubai Khasiani, FAD’s PFM Advisor at the Ministry of Finance in Liberia. Kubai was formerly a senior budget official in the Kenyan government.

RA: What have been the challenges you experienced in moving to the new position? How have you dealt with these challenges?

KK: I took over in 2011 from a PFM Advisor who had been in the position for three years, so there were already established channels of communication with the Minister and senior management which I inherited.  Many important changes in PFM had already taken place, or were in process. The country achieved the post-HIPC completion point in 2010; a Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) and a PFM Act were being implemented; and a PFM Strategy and Action Plan had recently been approved by the government. Development partners already in post were very accommodating, making it easy for me to adapt.

Continue reading "Views from the Field No. 3 – Liberia" »

October 03, 2012

New Harvard Course – Getting the Most from PFM Reform

Posted by Matt Andrews, Harvard Kennedy School

The posts on this blog are a continuous reminder that the PFM reform community has come a long way. We have a lot of great ideas and potential interventions that could have significant and lasting impact on governments across the globe. The posts are also a reminder of how limited many reforms are, and how difficult it is to get the functionality we so desire from PFM systems we are working to improve. 

In working through some of these difficulties, posts on this blog have referenced many common problems, raising questions about sequencing, fitting solutions to context, working around and within political constraints, managing capacity challenges, and the like. We are launching a new PFM course at the Harvard Kennedy School to tackle these kinds of questions. It runs from January 6–11, 2013 and will focus explicitly on how to do PFM reforms. 

The course will tackle the thorny issue of how PFM reforms can be most effectively introduced. These include: Who needs to be involved? How should the reforms be packaged? What should the sequence look like? Where lessons can be learned, and how?

Continue reading "New Harvard Course – Getting the Most from PFM Reform" »

September 28, 2012

Public Prominence and “Muscle” — the Role of the French Court of Accounts

Posted by Maximilien Queyranne and Delphine Moretti

Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) are the national bodies, found in many countries around the globe, responsible for reviewing public expenditure and providing an independent opinion on government financial reporting. The Court of Accounts (Cour des Comptes) in France is one of these bodies but has a wider range of responsibilities, and a more prominent place in public life and political debates than in other countries.

The Court is part of the judicial system and consequently operates independently of the executive and legislative branches of government. Since a ruling by the Supreme Court (Conseil Constitutionnel) in 2001, the Court’s independence as well as its institutional relationship with the executive and legislative branches has been protected by the Constitution. A revision of the Constitution in July 2008 incorporated these important principles (article 47-2).

Continue reading "Public Prominence and “Muscle” — the Role of the French Court of Accounts" »

September 26, 2012

New FAD Brochure Explains It All

Posted by the Fiscal Affairs Department of the IMF

The casual reader of the PFM Blog may have wondered what part of the IMF is actually responsible for the posts on this website. The website is maintained by the two PFM Divisions in the Fiscal Affairs Department (FAD), one of the functional (in contrast to geographic) departments of the IMF. For the upcoming Annual Meetings of IMF and World Bank Group in Tokyo from October 9-14 the attached brochure has been produced. It should be clear that FAD is much more than PFM alone! 

Download FAD Brochure 2012

Continue reading "New FAD Brochure Explains It All" »

September 14, 2012

Recent Meetings of the PEMPAL Network in Europe and Central Asia

Posted by Deanna Aubrey, PEMPAL PFM Adviser

The three ‘communities of practice’ of budget, treasury, and internal audit of the Public Expenditure Management Peer Assisted Learning (PEMPAL) network had a series of meetings in the first six months of 2012. PEMPAL covers up to 22 governments in the Europe and Central Asia region and brings practitioners together regularly to discuss common priority issues in PFM reform. PEMPAL is supported by the World Bank, Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), the Russian Federation, and OECD SIGMA.

Members of Treasury Community of Practice (TCoP) gathered in Tbilisi, Georgia from February 27-29. Treasury experts from 10 countries met to learn more about Georgia’s PFM reforms implemented by the State Treasury Service, who co-hosted the meeting. The workshop was an opportunity to exchange experiences in modernizing national treasury systems particularly related to issues of integration of external financing. Participants also had the opportunity to visit the customs clearance zone of the Ministry of Finance in Lilo district in Tbilisi as an example of modernization public services through information technology. More information can be found at and in IMF’s PFM blog at

Fifty-seven participants from Ministries of Finance from 18 ECA countries from Budget Community of Practice (BCOP) met in Bohinj, Slovenia on March 27-29 to exchange experiences in program budgeting as part of the Budget Community of Practice (BCOP) work program. Country cases of France, Australia, Poland, and Slovenia were showcased and reform progress shared by Kazakhstan, Russian Federation, Armenia, Croatia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Most PEMPAL member countries have implemented elements of program budgeting including defining and identifying programs, formulating program objectives, and selecting performance information. However, the quality of performance information remains generally poor, is in many cases not systematically monitored, and has limited influence on budget decision making. Countries acknowledge that the reform process is long and ongoing and are planning on exchanging information and meeting more on this topic in the future. More information can be found at and in IMF’s PFM blog at

Continue reading "Recent Meetings of the PEMPAL Network in Europe and Central Asia" »

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