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International Monetary Fund. Strategy, Policy, & Review Department, International Monetary Fund. Finance Dept., and International Monetary Fund. Legal Dept.
The note updates and replaces the prior guidance on SMPs, provided in 2003, incorporating changes to the Fund’s lending strategy, and clarifies some operational issues to better guide staff on the use and design of SMPs, while safeguarding even-handed application. Noteworthy changes include clarity on the role of SMPs, specifying the start and end dates of SMPs, clarifying the expected length of SMPs and track record periods, and extensions of SMPs. While many policies are clarified, the principle of flexibility is maintained.
Mr. Boileau Loko, Nelie Nembot, and Mr. Marcos Poplawski Ribeiro
The paper reexamines the main private savings determinants in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), followed by an analysis of the COVID-19 pandemic impact on private savings in SSA and other country groupings. Using an unbalanced panel data from 1983−2021 for 31 SSA economies, the paper finds that real per capita economic growth remains a key historical determinant of private savings in the region. In contrast with other regions, private saving rates have not increased during COVID-19 in SSA. Instead, COVID-19 deaths in our estimations are significantly associated with a decline in private savings in SSA. Robustness checks and a descriptive analysis of household surveys during the pandemic corroborate those results.
Ms. Genevieve Verdier, Brett Rayner, Ms. Priscilla S Muthoora, Charles Vellutini, Ling Zhu, Vincent de Paul Koukpaizan, Alireza Marahel, Mahmoud Harb, Imen Benmohamed, Mr. Shafik Hebous, Andrew Okello, Nathalie Reyes, Thomas Benninger, and Bernard Sanya
Domestic revenue mobilization has been a longstanding challenge for countries in the Middle East and Central Asia. Insufficient revenue has often constrained priority social and infrastructure spending, reducing countries’ ability to reach the Sustainable Development Goals, improve growth prospects, and address climate related challenges. Moreover, revenue shortfalls have often been compensated by large and sustained debt accumulation, raising vulnerabilities in some countries, and limiting fiscal space to address future shocks. The COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine have compounded challenges to sustainable public finances, underscoring the need for revenue mobilization efforts. The recent global crises have also exacerbated existing societal inequalities and highlighted the importance of raising revenues in an efficient and equitable manner. This paper examines the scope for additional tax revenue mobilization and discusses policies to gradually raise tax revenue while supporting resilient growth and inclusion in the Middle East and Central Asia. The paper’s main findings are that excluding hydrocarbon revenues, the region’s average tax intake lags those of other regions; the region’s fragile and conflict-affected states (FCS) face particular challenges in mobilizing tax revenue; In general, there is considerable scope to raise additional tax revenue; countries have made efforts to raise tax collection, but challenges remain; tax policy design, notably low tax rates and pervasive tax exemptions, is an important factor driving tax revenue shortfalls; weak tax compliance, reflecting both structural features and challenges in revenue administration, also plays a role; and personal income tax systems in the region vary in their progressivity—the extent to which the average tax rate increases with income—and in their ability to redistribute income. These findings provide insights for policy action to raise revenue while supporting resilient growth and inclusion. The paper’s analysis points to these priorities for the region to improve both efficiency and equity of tax systems: improving tax policy design to broaden the tax base and increase progressivity and redistributive capacity; strengthening revenue administration to improve compliance; and implementing structural reforms to incentivize tax compliance, formalization, and economic diversification.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
Tajikistan successfully completed a 3-year ECF-supported program in May 2012 and needs to continue with ambitious reforms. While growth is robust, it is non-inclusive, leading to large-scale outmigration that makes Tajikistan the most remittance-dependent country in the world. The country remains the poorest of the eight in the Caucasus and Central Asia (CCA) and stands next to last among the seven with rankings in the ease of doing business. Reliance on commodity imports, a narrow export base, and low buffers leave the economy vulnerable. Weak macroeconomic policy frameworks restrict the authorities’ ability to dampen shocks. State-directed lending and investment displace market-financed activity and create fiscal risks. Presidential elections are scheduled for November.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.

Abstract

Countries in the Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan, and Pakistan (MENAP) region and those in the Caucasus and Central Asia (CCA) responded to the COVID-19 pandemic with swift and stringent measures to mitigate its spread and impact but continue to face an uncertain and difficult environment. Oil exporters were particularly hard hit by a “double-whammy” of the economic impact of lockdowns and the resulting sharp decline in oil demand and prices. Containing the health crisis, cushioning income losses, and expanding social spending remain immediate priorities. However, governments must also begin to lay the groundwork for recovery and rebuilding stronger, including by addressing legacies from the crisis and strengthening inclusion.