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June 2012

June 29, 2012

Public Financial Management Information System in Georgia

Posted by Nino Tchelishvili, Deputy Head of State Treasury, Ministry of Finance, Georgia  

After the Rose Revolution (2003) the new government of Georgia undertook a large number of reform initiatives targeted at strengthening PFM. MoF focused on further developing the institutional framework of the budget process in order to improve its credibility and the effective allocation of public resources. An FAD mission visited Georgia twice in 2004 and assisted the MoF in formulating its strategy for treasury reforms. An FAD technical expert was assigned to help implement the reform measures in the areas of: Treasury Single Account, Budget Classification, Commitment Control, Accounting Reforms, and Cash Planning and Management.

In parallel with developing the PFM institutional framework, including basic components of a modern treasury system, MoF and the State Treasury started considering measures for reforming the then rudimentary and fragmented treasury information system. The decision to introduce integrated information systems was taken in 2006. Development Partners (WB, SIDA, Netherlands and DFID) provided funds for the Public Finance Management Information System (PFMS) implementation project and MoF embarked on this long and exciting journey in 2007. External technical experts recommended procuring commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) packages and customizing them to local context.

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June 27, 2012

Burundi – L’expérience positive du nouveau dispositif de gestion des ressources extérieures

Posté par Jean Pierre Nguenang[1]

A la faveur de la rénovation récente du cadre juridique des finances publiques (FP), le pays a mis en place un nouveau dispositif de gestion des ressources extérieures, le budget d’affectation spéciale (BAS). S’inscrivant dans le cadre de la déclaration de Paris 2005 sur l’efficacité de l’aide, ce dispositif concilie l’utilisation des nouvelles procédures nationales, tant en budgétisation qu’en exécution, avec les besoins des bailleurs. Avec la mise en place d’un fonds commun de l’éducation (FCE) doté de financements de certains bailleurs de fond pour les budgets 2011 et 2012, une première expérience du BAS s’avère positive. Cette mise en œuvre du premier BAS préfigure l’introduction progressive pour le budget général des dispositions de modernisation adoptées dans le cadre rénové des FP.

Une budgétisation du BAS qui améliore l’exhaustivité et la transparence du budget de l’Etat

Les fonds des bailleurs accordés à l’Etat, à l’exception des appuis budgétaires directs, sont intégrés si les bailleurs le souhaitent en recettes et en dépenses au budget général de l’Etat. Une annexe aux lois de finances donne le détail de l’origine et de l’emploi de ces fonds. Toutefois, un BAS peut être créé par groupes de projet ou groupes de programmes d’investissement, réunissant les financements d’un ou de plusieurs bailleurs de fonds. Rattaché au ministère sectoriel principalement responsable de sa mise en œuvre, le BAS peut être abondé par un crédit budgétaire au titre de la contrepartie nationale.

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Burundi – Success with the New Mechanism for Managing External Resources

Posted by Jean Pierre Nguenang[1]

As part of the recent reform of the legal framework governing public finances, Burundi has introduced a new mechanism for managing external resources, a special earmarks budget (BAS). This mechanism, which is in line with the 2005 Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, balances the use of the national procedures, both in budgeting and execution, with the needs of donors. The initial experience with a BAS - in the form of the establishment of an Education Funding Pool (FCE) financed by certain donors for the 2011 and 2012 budgets – has been encouraging and marks the first step in the gradual introduction for the general budget of the modernization measures included in the updated public finance framework.

Inclusion of the BAS in the budget improves the coverage and transparency of the government budget

The funds granted by donors to the government, with the exception of direct budgetary assistance, are included under revenue and expenditure in the general budget of the government if the donors so wish. An annex to the budget law provides a breakdown of the origin and use of the funds. However, a BAS may be created for a group of projects or group of investment programs, combining the financing from one or more donors. The BAS may be supplemented by a budgetary allocation, which constitutes the national counterpart. The BAS comes under the sectoral ministry, which has primary responsibility for its implementation.

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June 25, 2012

Healthcare reform: Difficult but not impossible

Posted by Benedict Clements, David Coady, and Sanjeev Gupta. Originally published on voxeu.org

It is a daunting reality for many advanced economies that even if they manage to cut public spending today, they will continue to have huge liabilities as their populations age. This column argues that healthcare reform, no matter how politically unpalatable, will have to be a part of countries’ financial adjustment plans.

With public debt ratios soaring to levels unprecedented since the Second World War, fiscal adjustments are already underway and more will need to be done in many advanced economies (Buti and Pench 2012, Cottarelli 2012). In these economies, for example, an adjustment of an astonishing eight percentage points of GDP will be required, on average, between 2011 and 2020, and then sustained for a decade beyond that, to bring debt ratios to 60% of GDP (IMF 2012). Even this figure understates the daunting task ahead, as it does not take into account the fiscal pressures emanating from age-related spending, including health, in these countries (Standard & Poor's 2012; Gruber 2012). Healthcare reform, no matter how politically unpalatable, will have to be a part of countries’ fiscal adjustment strategies. In emerging economies, healthcare reform is equally crucial, given continued lags in health indicators and the need to expand health spending at a gradual pace to maintain fiscal discipline. These countries also have fiscal adjustment needs, but they are significantly lower than advanced economies.

In the face of these Herculean challenges, there nevertheless are reform options to tame the growth of healthcare spending in advanced economies in a way so as to minimise any potential adverse effects on the poor. In emerging economies, the challenge is to expand coverage in a fiscally sustainable manner. In our book, The Economics of Public Health Care Reform in Advanced and Emerging Economies, we describe the present and coming fiscal burden from healthcare but also the lessons in healthcare reform that can be learned from the successes of a number of countries.

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June 15, 2012

PEFA NewsFlash No. 19 - PEFA Steering Committee launching Phase IV of the Program

PEFA Steering Committee launching Phase IV of the Program

The PEFA Steering Committee met for its ordinary six-monthly meeting on June 11-12, hosted and chaired by the World Bank. The meeting confirmed that all arrangements are in place for the transition to Phase IV of the Program, which will commence on July 1, including:

  • Approval of the publication of the PEFA Phase IV Program Document;  click on the link to access the [program document]
  • Confirmation of the establishment of the new trust fund to finance Phase IV;
  • Signing of the first agreement for contribution to the trust fund with SECO Switzerland to the tune of USD 3,588,000 for the five years of Phase IV;
  • Change of PEFA Secretariat management – Frans Ronsholt is leaving after more than six years as Head of Secretariat. Phil Sinnett has been appointed to succeed Frans as Head; he is well known to most PEFA Stakeholders, having joined the Secretariat in September 2009.  

The Steering Committee also took stock of the achievements during Phase III and discussed the work plan and budget for fiscal year FY13 (July-June) including a number of ongoing activities which will be carried over from Phase III.

The meeting ended with a toast of thanks to Frans for his vision for the Program, the tremendous contribution he has made to the success of Phases II and III, and his effective leadership of the Secretariat over the past six years: the Steering Committee also wished him every success in his future endeavors.

June 14, 2012

The Adoption of the Cash-based IPSAS by Developing Countries: Detour or Good Foundation?

Posted by Guilhem Blondy and Kris Kauffmann

In advising countries on the appropriate government accounting reforms PFM specialists often have different views. Developing countries are often encouraged to adopt the cash-IPSAS standard as a first step to modernizing government accounting; others see this as a detour to improving accounting practices. Our colleagues Kris Kauffmann and Guilhem Blondy discuss this issue, first disagree and then reach tentative agreement…it seems. Comments welcome!

Guilhem. In my view, the adoption of the cash-IPSAS standard tends to distract developing countries from more important accounting reforms rather than to help them:

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June 12, 2012

Finding a Bi-partisan Fiscal Rule for the US: An Interview with Maya MacGuineas

Posted By Carla Sateriale

Continuing our series of interviews with PFM professionals, research assistant Carla Sateriale spoke to Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget and Director of the Fiscal Policy Program at the New America Foundation. Ms. MacGuineas is a non-partisan fiscal policy consultant and works to promote public understanding of budgetary issues.

Ms. MacGuineas, what originally captured your interest in budgeting issues?

I used to work on Wall Street during the mid-nineties, where I got the chance to observe how the bond market reacted to fiscal deficits. While the deficits at that time seem miniscule by today’s standards, they convinced me of the significance of sound fiscal policy.   

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June 08, 2012

Accounting and the Budget Framework

Posted by Julie Cooper

For decades the debate has raged on about the applicability for government of what is often referred to as private sector accounting methodology.  Those who argue against its use in government offer up the differences in management focus between the private and public sectors to support their position. They argue that because the private sector is focused on profit generation the underlying concepts of accounting are not valid for government purposes. This argument is simplistic and fails to recognize the overarching purpose of all accounting systems.

Accounting is an information and measurement system that identifies, records, and communicates relevant, reliable, and comparable information about an organization’s activities. Providing information about how an organization performs is an important aim of accounting. This is true for both private and public sectors. Another similarity between the two sectors is that they both focus on the efficient allocation of resources to realize their goals. The difference between these two sectors lay in how that information is reported and used not the accounting per se.

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June 06, 2012

The Independence of Supreme Audit Institutions: Celebrated in New York, But Often Ignored Back Home

Posted by Guilhem Blondy

On December 22, 2011 the 66th United Nations General Assembly adopted the resolution "Promoting the efficiency, accountability, effectiveness and transparency of public administration by strengthening supreme audit institutions." 

The General Assembly recognizes that SAIs can accomplish their tasks objectively and effectively only if they are independent of the audited entity and are protected against outside influence, as well as the important role of SAIs in promoting the efficiency, accountability, effectiveness and transparency of public administration, which is conducive to the achievement of national development objectives and priorities.

The UN General Assembly also takes note with appreciation of the work of International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI), and encourages Member States to apply the principles set out in its Lima and Mexico declarations.

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June 04, 2012

Transición a la contabilidad en base de devengo: Notas Técnicas y Manuales del FMI

Publicada por Abdul Khan

La contabilidad en base de devengo es un tema candente en la actualidad, y muchos países han manifestado interés en adoptar este tipo de régimen contable. En una Nota Técnica de septiembre de 2009 elaborada por Abdul Khan, del Departamento de Finanzas Públicas del FMI, y por Stephen Mayes, ex funcionario de la institución, se presentan recomendaciones sobre el diseño, la planificación y la implementación de un régimen de contabilidad en base de devengo. La Nota aborda una serie de cuestiones relacionadas con la implementación de la contabilidad en base de devengo, y tiene por objeto establecer las pautas generales sobre las condiciones previas necesarias para una transición exitosa a la contabilidad en base de devengo, la secuencia adecuada de las medidas de reforma y los hitos que podrían servir como indicadores de los avances.

Las directrices de la Nota están concebidas para su aplicación principalmente en departamentos y unidades del gobierno general dentro de jurisdicciones nacionales, provinciales/estatales y locales. Se supone que las empresas estatales que participan en actividades comerciales ya preparan los presupuestos, llevan su contabilidad y presentan informes en base de devengo completo.

Haga clic aquí para descargar el texto íntegro de la nota en inglés o español

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June 01, 2012

Les budgets nationaux au service du développement et de la réduction de la pauvreté

Posté par Mohamed Moindze

Se voulant résolument pragmatique et orienté vers les nouvelles finances publiques, l’ouvrage «Les budgets nationaux au service du développement et de la réduction de la pauvreté »  édité, en janvier 2012, est centré sur la budgétisation des politiques de développement et de réduction de la pauvreté dans les pays en développement de tradition francophone.

L’ouvrage se veut également exhaustif en proposant une vision d’ensemble des questions relatives à l’élaboration des budgets nationaux basés sur les politiques publiques. Il est composé de deux parties. La première traite des stratégies globales et sectorielles dans leurs différents aspects de diagnostic, d’élaboration, de costing et de suivi en se basant sur les stratégies de croissance et  de réduction de la pauvreté développées par les pays en développant.

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National Budgets that Meet the Needs of Development and Poverty Reduction

Posted by Mohamed Moindze

With its resolutely pragmatic focus on the latest developments in public finance, Les budgets nationaux au service du développement et de la réduction de la pauvreté [National budgets that meet the needs of development and poverty reduction] (published in January 2012) addresses the budgeting of development and poverty-reduction policies in developing Francophone countries.

This publication also provides a comprehensive overview of issues relevant to preparing national budgets based on public policies. The text comes in two parts. The first part deals with the various aspects of global and sectoral strategies (diagnostic assessment, preparation, costing, and monitoring), predicated on the growth and poverty-reduction strategies formulated by developing countries.

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