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Mr. George Kopits

to generate a steady tax revenue flow. It is, therefore, imperative that the authorities endeavor to maintain a precautionary fiscal stance—if necessary, supported by contingency measures—thereby ensuring macroeconomic equilibrium during this critical period. Finally, all fiscal reform measures should be announced and initiated at the very outset of the transition process. However, some institutional changes (social security reform, privatization of public enterprises) will inevitably entail a relatively long implementation period, spanning a number of years

International Monetary Fund. African Dept.

. Data Issues and Capacity Building 30. Data provision is broadly adequate for surveillance and program review (TMU Table 2). The authoritiesendeavor to provide weekly data on some key indicators under the ECF-supported program is remarkable. However, further efforts are needed to bolster data collection and reconciliation, both for debt as well as external sector statistics. With IMF support, the compilation of national accounts and price statistics and the provision of monetary and interest rate data have improved. Lingering problems, including data quality

International Monetary Fund. African Dept.

social safety nets and providing support to the vulnerable segments of the population and affected businesses, including through a payment moratorium. At the same time, the authorities endeavor to adjust their policies to the oil price and pandemic shocks through a prudent fiscal stance as possible. They plan to alleviate the large revenue losses in 2020 through strengthening the tax and customs administrations. Actions in this regard include an expansion of online services and mobile payments for taxpayers, extended payment arrangements to affected enterprises, on

International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept

projected to be significantly lower than what was budgeted for. Though it is correct that capital spending tends to pick up in the last two years of the five year plans, the authorities endeavor to ensure that the selected projects are not beyond the implementing capacity of the government agencies. They also recognize the need for increasing tax revenues and are hopeful of introducing a new goods and services tax (GST), with Parliament’s approval, by the end of 2018. On the expenditure side, they have taken several measures to contain current spending. Going forward

International Monetary Fund

would mean: (a) a full harmonization of legislation between entities and towards the EU standards; (b) implementation of the international best practices in all spheres of economic management and improvement of institutional capacity; (c) removing administrative barriers to new businesses and to foreign investment; (d) completion of privatization of public assets; (e) most importantly, fighting corruption at all levels of government. All these issues are on the agenda of the authorities and they are addressed in the I-PRSP. The authorities endeavors to address these