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Sailendra Pattanayak, Racheeda Boukezia, Yasemin Hurcan, and Ramon Hurtado
Fiscal institutional capacity in most fragile states (FS) and several low-income developing countries (LIDCs) is much lower than in other countries. Governments in these countries face several cash management challenges because they often lack credible budgets, have smaller and less diversified revenue bases, have limited access to financial markets, and rely largely on donors to fund a large portion of their budgets. Available public funds in these countries often remain dispersed outside the control of the ministry of finance. In the absence of a good cash forecasting function, these countries typically resort to cash rationing to meet their priority spending needs, often in an ad hoc manner, which can adversely affect budget execution and achievement of fiscal policy targets. This note sets out the key objectives and building blocks of a cash management function in FS and LIDCs. It suggests several measures to progressively build cash management capacity in three interrelated areas: consolidating cash resources, forecasting cash flows, and managing cash balances with sound institutional setups.
Ms. Anja Baum, Mr. Paulo A Medas, Alberto Soler, and Mouhamadou Sy
The size and operation of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) can imply significant risks for governments. SOEs are present in virtually every country in the world and are major players in domestic economies and in global markets. In some countries, they number in the thousands and are owned by national or subnational governments. SOEs are among the largest corporations in some advanced economies and comprise a third or more of the largest firms in several emerging markets. Many operate with systematic losses and carry significant liabilities. If SOEs face adverse shocks and financial distress they can impact the government budget or balance sheet through numerous transmission channels. This How to Note describes a newly developed SOE risk assessment tool to help country authorities and IMF country teams. The analysis can provide inputs for annual budgets and medium-term fiscal planning. This includes providing estimates of possible transfers to and from SOEs to the budget and possible financing needs. The note outlines the main steps and elements of the template to assess fiscal risks for governments from individual SOEs. The first step is to collect financial information on SOEs and their relation to the government budget, and to provide a benchmark against other SOEs in similar sectors. A second step is to do a forward-looking analysis based on baseline forecasts and stress scenarios, to identify and analyze possible risks and their impact on government accounts.
Mario Pessoa, Andrew Okello, Artur Swistak, Muyangwa Muyangwa, Virginia Alonso-Albarran, and Vincent de Paul Koukpaizan
The value-added tax (VAT) has the potential to generate significant government revenue. Despite its intrinsic self-enforcement capacity, many tax administrations find it challenging to refund excess input credits, which is critical to a well-functioning VAT system. Improperly functioning VAT refund practices can have profound implications for fiscal policy and management, including inaccurate deficit measurement, spending overruns, poor budget credibility, impaired treasury operations, and arrears accumulation.This note addresses the following issues: (1) What are VAT refunds and why should they be managed properly? (2) What practices should be put in place (in tax policy, tax administration, budget and treasury management, debt, and fiscal statistics) to help manage key aspects of VAT refunds? For a refund mechanism to be credible, the tax administration must ensure that it is equipped with the strategies, processes, and abilities needed to identify VAT refund fraud. It must also be prepared to act quickly to combat such fraud/schemes.
Israel Fainboim Yaker, Mr. Sandeep Saxena, and Michael J. Williams
Well-developed cash management aims to improve government operational efficiency and facilitates better service delivery by ensuring liquidity to meet payment obligations as they fall due. Liquidity, however, comes at a cost. Governments can reduce the cost of maintaining liquidity by proactively managing their cash balance at an appropriate level and prudently investing any excess liquidity. This note discusses the policy framework and processes that governments should put in place to identify, guide, and govern the investment of their surplus cash resources.