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Mr. Saji Thomas and Mr. Arnim Schwidrowski
Countries generally tax the forestry sector to achieve the twin objectives of revenue maximization and sustainability of logging levels. In an ideal world of perfect markets and information, auctions would be the best instrument to determine the price of extraction rights. However, a number of factors-including a lack of information on the forest resources under consideration, uncertainties as to the stability of property rights over time, and a lack of access to credit-have limited the use of auctions so far, particularly in low-income countries. To establish transparency of the forestry sector's financial flows, this paper discusses a radical simplification of Liberia's current timber tax structure, including a proposal to reduce the sector's current tax system to two instruments, an area tax and an export tax.
Mr. Saji Thomas and Mr. Arnim Schwidrowski

Front Matter Page African Department Authorized for distribution by Edouard Maciejewski Contents I. Introduction II. Liberia’s Timber Sector A. Evolution of Liberia’s Timber Sector B. Liberia’s Timber Revenue System III. Why Are Forestry Taxes Different from other Taxes? IV. Assessment of Fiscal Instruments Used in Forestry Sector V. An Interim Proposal for Timber Taxation References Tables Table 1. Advantages and Disadvantages of Forest Taxes and Fees Figures Figure 1. Flow of Timber Through the Forest Sector and

International Monetary Fund

with Dollarization F. Will Dollarization Help Liberia? Boxes 5. Financing of Fiscal Deficits During the 1980s III. Simplifying Liberia’s Timber Tax Structure—A Contribution to Enhance Revenue Transparency A. Introduction B. Evolution of Liberia’s Timber Sector C. Liberia’s Timber Revenue System D. Principles of Forestry Taxation E. Simplifying Liberia’s Timber Tax Structure Boxes 6. Flow of Timber Through the Forest Sector and Application of Taxes Statistical Appendix Tables 1. Sectoral Gross Domestic Product, 2000–04 2. Sectoral

International Monetary Fund. African Dept.

(CEMAC). Following the Executive Board discussion on Gabon, David Lipton, First Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chair stated: “Macroeconomic conditions are slowly improving in Gabon, but the recovery remains fragile. Estimates indicate that overall economic growth weakened due to declining oil production and the stronger-than-expected impact of fiscal consolidation on sectors linked to government expenditure. These weaknesses were moderated by a robust growth of the mineral extraction, agriculture, and timber sectors. In 2018, higher oil prices, new investment

International Monetary Fund

Appraisal Boxes 1. Measures Taken by the NTGL to Strengthen Economic Management 2. Timber Sector and Sanctions 3. Liberia’s Dual Currency System 4. The Results-Focused Transitional Framework (RFTF) Tables 1. Selected Economic and Financial Indicators, 1999–2004 2. Summary of Central Government Operations, 1999–June 2004 3. Monetary Survey, June 2002–June 2004 4. Balance of Payments, 1999–2004 5. External Public Debt, Debt Service, and Arrears, 1999–2003 Appendices I. Summary of Fiscal TA Needs Assessment II. Early Findings and Initial Priority

Mr. Saji Thomas and Mr. Arnim Schwidrowski

of a transparent system of revenue collection. To establish transparency of the sector’s financial flows, Liberia is taking a number of actions with external assistance . To this end, this paper discusses a radical simplification of Liberia’s current timber tax structure. The paper proceeds as follows: After a description of the evolution of Liberia’s timber sector and of its tax structure, it provides an overview of the theory of timber taxation. Based on a theoretical model, a range of taxes and fees applied to forestry activities is being evaluated in light of

International Monetary Fund

authorities are requesting waivers for nonobservance of performance criteria and are also asking for the combined completion of the second and third program review. I—Recent developments After a robust performance in the first half of 2008, economic activity slowed down in the latter months of that year, due primarily to the weakening global economy, which has particularly affected the manganese and timber sectors. As a result, non-oil real GDP growth is estimated at 3.0 percent in 2008, against 6.2 percent in 2007. The oil production also declined by 1.2 percent

International Monetary Fund. African Dept.

, and timber sectors. Growth in oil production could be around 15 percent in 2019, compared with around 5 percent initially forecasted, thanks to the performance of new oil fields and the absence of operational malfunctions during the year. In the non-oil sector, growth is projected at 2.5 percent compared to 1.8 percent in 2018. Inflation declined by 0.9 percent at end-September 2019 due to reduction in food prices, and private sector credit growth at end-September 2019 remain modest at 4.0 percent. During the same period the external current account improved by more