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October 2020

October 22, 2020

The Impact of COVID-19 on the Austrian PFM System

Posted by Johann Seiwald and Tobias Polzer[1]

Like many other countries, the Austrian economy was substantially affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. A lockdown was put into effect in March 2020 and gradually relaxed at the end of April. To mitigate the negative consequences of the pandemic the government announced a “protective shield” of support measures costing some €38 billion (about 10% of GDP), including government guarantees and deferral of tax payments for businesses. In mid-June, the government announced another stimulus package to be implemented over the next few years, increasing the total support to €50 billion.

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October 19, 2020

Performance Budgeting and the Myth of Sisyphus

The myth
Posted by Paulo Bijos[1]

At least two changes should result from a performance budgeting approach. First, the adoption of more results-oriented language in the discussion of policy issues and, second, the use of performance information as an input to the process of allocating resources through the budget. The first objective is more feasible, since a reform of the budget framework can be required by regulation and implemented at a technical level. The second objective, however, may resemble utopia, since substantial modifications in policy-making patterns cannot be provided solely by formal statute.

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October 15, 2020

How Better Management of Public Assets can Boost the Recovery

Posted by Dag Detter, Ian Ball, and Hanan Amin-Salem[1]

Countries need cash – a lot of it and as soon as possible - to survive the grim fallout from COVID-19 and to be able to navigate toward recovery. The critical situation that they are facing compels more creative thinking about how best to manage public finances and to unlock new sources of funding. Those countries able to tap the hidden store of value in their balance sheets have a better chance to come out of the crisis faster, and more sustainably, than those that cannot. Generating value from the balance sheet is a well proven alternative, but one that requires considerable political will. It is an alternative fit for a crisis, when the politically impossible becomes the politically inevitable.

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October 13, 2020

A Stacked Layer Model Approach to PFM Digitization

Posted by Ali Hashim and Moritz Piatti-Fünfkirchen[1]

Digitization of processes in public financial management (PFM) holds a lot of promise. It can support efficiency, foster accountability and transparency, and ensure continuity of essential services during times of crisis. Countries are increasingly investing in aspects of digitization. However, how digitization relates to PFM is highly complex and requires an understanding of how a multitude of factors interact with one another. For this a “stacked layer model” can help.  

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October 08, 2020

Balancing Uganda’s Fiscal Rules during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Posted by Enock Bulime and Ezra F. Munyambonera[1]

A previous PFM blog suggested that Uganda’s existing fiscal rules might need modification to make them better guides to fiscal policy. In the present article, we explain how the government might better balance the flexibility and credibility of the fiscal rules during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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October 06, 2020

Public Investment for the Recovery

By Vitor GasparPaolo MauroCatherine Pattillo, and Raphael Espinoza

Governments around the world are taking extraordinary measures to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. While maintaining the focus on addressing the health emergency and providing lifelines for households and businesses, governments need to prepare economies for the transition to the post-COVID-19 world—including by helping people get back to work.

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October 05, 2020

Accelerating Public Investment: An Impossible Mission, or Not Quite?

IG Book
Posted by Rui Monteiro[1]

Countries plagued with significant delays in infrastructure delivery often create taskforces aiming at accelerating public investment programs. Although staffed with competent people, and granted high-level, speedy access to the prime-minister or president to whom they usually report, the performance of these entities has typically been disappointing. Their results substantially lag their objectives and aspirations.

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October 01, 2020

Fiscal Risks from Public Infrastructure

IG Book
Posted by Eivind Tandberg, Rui Monteiro, Isabel Rial[1]

Public infrastructure projects are typically large and complex, with long planning, implementation, and operational periods. They are inherently exposed to many different uncertainties and risks. However, project risks are often not well integrated in infrastructure governance frameworks and receive only moderate attention during major investment decisions. Governments’ decision-making is typically short-sighted, and the long-term costs and benefits are poorly reflected in most standard budget systems. Planning and monitoring systems may help decision-makers understand the long-term effects of infrastructure projects, but these systems are often limited in their scope and coverage. As a result, risk management of infrastructure projects remains underdeveloped and infrastructure project outcomes often deviate significantly from expectations or forecasts.

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