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December 2015

December 30, 2015

Job Offers: A New Year, a new Career as PFM Specialist for the IMF

The Fiscal Affairs Department of the International Monetary Fund is seeking public financial management (PFM) specialists to fill a number of current and prospective vacancies. These include:

  • Contractual Advisor positions based in Washington DC.
  • Regional Advisor positions in regional technical assistance centers (RTACs), specifically PFTAC based in the Fiji servicing 17 Pacific Island Countries, CARTAC based in the Barbados servicing 20 Caribbean countries and two regional advisor positions in South-East Asia based in Bangkok.
  • Country Advisor positions based in ministries of finance in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.

Washington-based Contractual Advisor positions will be for an initial period of two years; renewable up to four years. All regional and country advisor appointments will be for a minimum of one year, renewable for a maximum of three to four years. Please find further details on the requirements and instructions on online application here


December 23, 2015

Decentralization: The Fiscal Side of the Peace Agreement in Northern Mali


Posted by Marie Laure Berbach, Grégoire Rota Graziosi, Mousse Sow and Benoit Taiclet[1]

The peace agreement settled with northern Mali insurgents in 2015 includes a large fiscal decentralization component.  This reform involves the scaling up of local governments’ resources by up to one third of the country’s budgetary revenue, thus tripling local budgets within three or four years, and increasing the number of sub-national regions from 8 to 19 (two of which are desert lands).

Continue reading "Decentralization: The Fiscal Side of the Peace Agreement in Northern Mali" »

December 14, 2015

Ups and Downs of PFM Reform in Ethiopia: Book Review


Posted by Richard Allen[1]

Between 1996 and 2008, Ethiopia undertook a comprehensive reform of its core financial systems, and successfully transformed itself in to one of the fastest growing economies in Africa. Since then, according to a recently published book[2] by Stephen B. Peterson, reforms have stood still or even moved backwards. Peterson provides a valuable case study of a reform experiment in which—as a USAID consultant working for the government on the Decentralization Support Activity (DSA) project—he was intimately involved.

The book has many important things to say, especially about the huge institutional challenges of reform in developing countries. A key finding is that reforms take a long time, at least 12-15 years, and basic systems (of what Peterson calls “public financial administration”, PFA) must be introduced before moving on to more sophisticated systems. But the volume also contains some serious flaws.

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December 09, 2015

Closing a Gap? The Role of Bottom-up Costing Within MTEFs


Posted by Michael Di Francesco[1]

The medium-term expenditure framework (MTEF) is one of the defining planning and budgeting practices of contemporary public financial management (PFM).[2] The PFM literature is replete with analysis of the relative strengths and weaknesses of different types of MTEF, but all are generally characterized by two features. First is the use of multi-year estimates of expenditure to account for the consequences of current year budget decisions; in other words, an MTEF is a critical ‘framing’ mechanism for more strategic budget preparation. The second feature is the emphasis placed on an iterative budget process that aims to reconcile the disciplinary function of ‘top-down’ expenditure envelopes set by finance ministries, and rigorous ‘bottom-up’ costing of programs by spending ministries.

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December 07, 2015

Sustainable Development and the Role of PFM


Opening remarks by Mr. Vitor Gaspar, Director, IMF Fiscal Affairs Department at the ICGFM Winter Conference, December 7, 2015 in Washington DC

Ladies and Gentlemen, good afternoon!

It is my great pleasure to welcome you, and thank you for participating in this Winter Conference of the International Consortium on Governmental Financial Management. The topic of this year’s Conference is: Transforming Development Finance: PFM’s Role in Meeting Sustainable Development Goals

The international community is in the midst of developing a new framework to promote sustainable development, to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all. In this endeavor, everyone needs to do their part: governments, the private sector, civil society, and international financial institutions, including the IMF.

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December 04, 2015

China Moves Ahead on Accrual Accounting


Posted by Gouhua Hang[1]

With over 15,000 budget entities in central government, and hundreds of thousands in local government, good government accounting is obviously very important in China. From a fiscal risk point of view, local government is perhaps the most important, as they have borrowed extensively through informal mechanisms in the past decade, and have started doing so formally (on a non-pilot basis) through bond issuance at the start of this year. For this reason, China’s State Council approved the Accrual Government Comprehensive Financial Reporting Reform Plan in 2014. As part of the plan’s implementation, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) recently published a package of accounting and financial reporting guidelines, including the Government Accounting Basic Standard, Government Financial Reporting Regulations, and the General Budget Accounting Regulation. The issuance of these critical documents marks the start of a substantial transformation China is making towards adopting accrual accounting.

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December 02, 2015

Vigilance Pays Off: How to Combat Financial Irregularity


Posted by Yugo Koshima[1]

Financial misconduct and irregularities provide a continuing headache for any government’s financial managers. They prevent a PFM system from functioning as it is supposed to do, even if the system is designed perfectly. They may also signal the existence of widespread corruption. In order to detect financial irregularities and allow policymakers to introduce preventive measures, the audit reports prepared by a country’s external audit authority are critically important.

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