Posted by Richard Allen, Holger van Eden, and Ted Twinting
This year’s award for the most read blog of 2014 goes to Carlos Scartascini of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) for his article on the IMF’s new Fiscal Transparency Code. His post won by several lengths with more than three times the number of hits recorded by the second-placed article. Another post by Carlos also features in the Top Ten. He is definitively our star blogger of the year! Of the Top Ten articles, seven were written by people who are outside IMF headquarters, a good advertisement for the blog’s richness and diversity! This is a trend which the editors would like to maintain in the New Year. The wide range of topics covered by the Top Ten posts is also notable – from cloud computing to fiscal councils, to the public finances of Barcelona to sovereign wealth funds, to fiscal reform in the WAEMU to the political economy of PFM, to the work of senior budget officials in Central Africa.
We extend an open invitation to potential authors in the PFM profession to contribute articles during 2015, while noting that posts should be relevant to PFM and budget issues, and be no more than 800 – 1,200 words in length.
Finally, on another New Year note, alert readers may have noticed some recent innovations in the presentation and formatting of the PFM blog. More changes are in process. These changes are designed to improve the readability and usefulness of the blog, and will:
- Update the biographies of the co-editors of the blog
- Provide information on recent working papers, technical notes and manuals and other publications of the IMF’s Fiscal Affairs Department
- Provide a reading list of other selected PFM references
- Update and streamline the archive of more than 1,000 posts issued since September 2007.
Keep reading to find the top ten posts of 2014!
How Far Can the IMF’s New Fiscal Transparency Code Take Us?
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... READ MORE!
Barcelona Promotes Fiscal Health and Strong Economic Performance
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. READ MORE!
Taking Stock of PFM Reforms in the WAEMU
In 2009, the Council of Ministers of the Western Africa Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) adopted six regional directives on public finance. These directives aim at reforming the public finance system in the WAEMU’s eight member countries. All countries are required to bring their domestic legislation into line with the directives by January 2012 and to implement the changes by January 2017. The first deadline, however, has already been missed, as indicated in the table below. By October 2014, only four countries have successfully enacted all of the six directives. Three countries have enacted one or two directives and are currently working on the others, while one country has so far failed to enact any of the directives. READ MORE!
4th Annual Meeting of the Senior Budget Officials Forum, AFRITAC Central
Posted by Abdoulahi Mfombouot and Marie-Christine Uguen
From 24 to 28 February 2014, Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), hosted the 4th meeting of the Forum of Senior Budget Officials of AFRITAC Central Member Countries (FoHBAC) on the theme “Reforming the State and Consolidating Democracy through the Budget”. The meeting was attended by delegates of all the member countries, the main technical and financial partners supporting public financial management (PFM) reform, and members of the Congolese civil society. The meeting, co-organized by the Vice Prime Minister and Minister of the Budget of the DRC and the AFRITAC Center Coordinator, received wide media coverage. READ MORE!
The $3.5 Trillion Question: Why governments establish sovereign wealth funds… and are they working?
Since 2000, over 30 governments in natural resource-rich countries have created sovereign wealth funds. More than a dozen more are in a pre-operational phase. In Kenya, Sierra Leone and the Canadian province of Saskatchewan, plans are being drawn up. In Uganda, draft legislation has been tabled in parliament. Funds in Colombia and Papua New Guinea have been established but are not yet operational. In fact, nearly all new oil, gas or mineral producers and even several hopeful producers are planning on establishing sovereign wealth funds. READ MORE!
Clouds on the Horizon - Part I
Posted by Chris Iles and Benoit Wiest
A prevailing trend in IT, cloud computing brings together high speed internet access, cheap processing power and web programming tools and platforms to deliver IT services in a new way. In the PFM area, the cloud is relevant in large-scale applications such as FMIS, payroll management and procurement systems, as well as tax administration. Organizations of all sizes are excited by the cloud’s promise of meeting variable user demands, reducing operating costs and capital investment, improving application performance and reducing the burden on IT departments. There are also opportunities for developing countries, as they often deal with IT maintenance, capacity and reliability issues which cloud computing could address. READ MORE!
Towards a PFM Taxonomy?
PFM experts will be familiar with the “anglo-franco derby” of budget systems. Many countries follow the so-called anglo-saxon model – as termed by the French - while others follow the francophone model. Most PFM experts have some implicit preference for one or other of these models, which more broadly reflect the British/Westiminster and French traditions of public administration. What are the realities at stake behind this friendly competition? READ MORE!
Strengthening Public Finances—Fiscal Councils on the Rise
Posted by Xavier Debrun and Tidiane Kinda
Thefiscal legacy of the 2008-09 economic and financial crisis has shaken the credibility of governments’ commitment to sustainable public finances. Because of their potential role in restoring fiscal credibility and increasing transparency, a new breed of institution (“fiscal councils”) has come to the forefront of the policy debate. READ MORE!
Politics Matter…But PFM Reforms Do Too.
The recent CAPE 2013 conference organized by ODI provided a forum for discussing where PFM is and where it is going. While many interesting issues arose from the discussions, one theme was ever present: namely, the importance of considering PFM as much more than a purely technocratic process. Politics matter, and they tend to determine the way reforms are implemented, and their probability of success. In this note, I highlight the reasons why politics matter for the budget process and how this issue can be dealt with. READ MORE!
Clouds on the Horizon - Part II
Posted by Chris Iles and Benoit Wiest
The proliferation of applications and their underlying server, storage and communications environment places a considerable burden on the IT staff tasked with configuring, deploying, maintaining and managing these assets. Once an IT system is up and running, ensuring its reliability can atenlso be a challenge in developing countries where IT infrastructure may be limited and can be affected by adverse weather conditions. READ MORE!
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.