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September 2015

September 24, 2015

Trends in Fiscal Transparency

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Posted by Rachel Wang, Tim Irwin, and Lewis Murara[1]

What do El Salvador, Hong Kong, Russia, and the Slovak Republic have in common? They are the only economies that submit fully comprehensive government finance statistics to the IMF. That is one of the results of a recently published Working Paper, Trends in Fiscal Transparency: Evidence from a New Database of the Coverage of Fiscal Reporting.

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September 18, 2015

A Think Tank Amidst The Vast Blue Sea



Posted by Suhas Joshi, Benoit Wiest and Ali Abdul-Raheem[1]

The small island nation of Maldives was absolutely buzzing this July, as it celebrated its 50th year of independence, amid the bright lights, festive decorations, fireworks, parades and processions. The country’s transformation over the past half a century has been tremendous. From an economic backwater the country has become South Asia’s richest economy, with a per-capita income of US$ 8,625 in 2014. Growth has been driven by the Maldives’ now world-renowned tourism industry. Yet the country has experienced its fair share of development challenges: vast income inequalities, a chaotic political transformation, macroeconomic mismanagement, and the threat posed by climate change and rising sea levels, among others.

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September 14, 2015

Sequencing Improvements in Cash Management

Kazakh money

 Posted by John Zohrab[1]

For more than a decade, ministries of finance in the Central Asia and Caucasus region have been making serious efforts to improve government cash management. What are the lessons that can be drawn from these countries about the sequencing of such reforms?

A widely-cited statement of the objective of cash management is having the right amount of money in the right place at the right time to meet government obligations in the most cost-effective way.[2] In other words, governments should try and ensure an acceptable level of risk of not meeting their obligations on time while minimizing overall net costs.    

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September 10, 2015

Gender Budgeting in Austria—Interview with Gerhard Steger

  Hef_Univ Doz _Dr _Gerhard_Steger
In this articlethe first in a series of interviews with notable figures in the world of budgeting and PFM that will be published in the coming months on the PFM BlogJohann Seiwald interviewed Gerhard Steger about Austria’s recent gender budgeting initiative.  Mr.  Steger was the Chair of the OECD’s network of Senior Budget Officials from 2009 until 2014, and Director of Budget in the Austrian Ministry of Finance from 1997 until 2014. Currently, he is, amongst others, member of the IMF’s Government Finance Statistics Advisory Committee (GFSAC).

 What was the motivation for including gender budgeting in the wider reform of Austria’s budget and accounting system? Why not environment budgeting, or social budgeting, or public infrastructure budgeting? What is special about gender as a topic that makes it worth singling out?

Steger:  Gender budgeting was an integral part of the Austrian budget reform which was introduced in 2013. A budget is a shoehorn and not a shoe, in other words it is not an end in itself but a means of using public resources to generate policy results for people. A crucial element of the Austrian reform is performance budgeting. Each ministry has to define a strictly limited number of intended policy outcomes, outputs, and performance indicators which require the approval of parliament. Gender equality is one of the dimensions of this framework, and the only one that is completely cross-cutting and mandatory for all ministries. For each of the 32 budget chapters, a maximum of five outcome/impact objectives (and related performance indicators) have to be defined by the ministries, out of which one objective must be related to improving gender equality.  

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September 09, 2015


 The Open Budget Survey 2015


The International Budget Partnership has just published findings from the Open Budget Survey 2015 – the world’s only independent, comparable measure of budget transparency, participation, and oversight.

The latest results reveal that the vast majority of people live in countries that have inadequate systems for ensuring accountable budgets. Most countries surveyed provide insufficient information for civil society and the public to understand or monitor budgets, and only a small fraction of countries have appropriate mechanisms for the public to participate in budget processes. Formal oversight institutions also frequently face limitations in performing their function of holding governments to account.

Events to discuss the findings, and their implications for public policy, will be taking place in different regions in coming months. Initial launches will be held in the United States and the United Kingdom:   

-      World Bank, Oxfam America, and the International Budget Partnership will launch the Survey in Washington D.C. on 10 September from 9:00 to 11:00 (EDT). Sign-up to attend in person or participate online.

-       The Overseas Development Institute is hosting a London event on 17 September 13:00 - 15:00 (BST). Register to join in person.

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.


September 04, 2015

Does it Make any Difference? Reviewing the Impacts of Fiscal Transparency and Participation

GIFT logo
Posted by Paolo de Renzio[1]

 Advocates of fiscal transparency and public participation in budget processes are often faced with the awkward “so what” question posed by skeptics. “It’s all good for you to say that transparency and participation are important”, the skeptical questioner asks, “but can you in fact show that they make any real difference?”.

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