Fazeer Sheik Rahim, Mr. Claude P Wendling, and Ms. Eliko Pedastsaar
Expenditure baseline projections (hereafter, “base¬lines”) are a key analytical concept in budget preparation that refers to estimates of future expenditure on the assumption that current policies remain unchanged. They serve as reference points against which other data, such as proposed or approved budgets, or expenditure ceilings, can be compared. In many countries they are a basic tool for starting the preparation of the budget. They represent neither future spending allocations nor total expected outturn as they do not incorporate estimates of the cost of new policies and the expected impact of saving measures. Other features of baselines are that they are generally produced over a multiyear period, they can be calcu¬lated at any level or form of the budget classification (that is, ministries, economic classification, specific policies, functions or programs), and can be summed up to higher levels (such as the whole budget). Hence, they can be useful at both a micro and an aggregate level. This note aims to clarify and establish a framework that covers baselines’ various purposes and uses. It first discusses the definition and objectives of baselines and the methodology used for producing them before outlining how they should be prepared. It concludes with a discussion of the key success factors for making the most effective use of baselines.
Patrick Petit, Mario Mansour, and Mr. Philippe Wingender
Fighting the obesity epidemic has so far proven a difficult challenge, given the diversity of natural and processed foods, the complexity of food supply chains, and the fact that targeting excessive caloric consumption is far trickier than reducing overall consumption (as for tobacco). Nevertheless, efforts to curb caloric intake are gearing up and the experience from tobacco control has drawn much attention on a potential role for excise taxes in fighting obesity. Many related questions have therefore been raised as part of the IMF’s capacity development work: Should excises on unhealthy food be used to fight obesity? If so, under what conditions? What are the product and market characteristics that would help identify the relevant tax bases and the rates at which to tax them? While acknowledging that the scientific evidence keeps evolving, this note summarizes the ongoing debate and practice on food excises and on their potential role as a policy tool to fight the obesity epidemic, with a view to assist policymakers in deciding whether to go forward, and if so, how.How to Apply Excise Taxes to Fight Obesity
Public investment is likely to be an important component of any postcrisis recovery program. As countries work to ensure a smart, green, fair recovery, investing in modern, resilient, and efficient infrastructure assets will be key. This How to Note discusses how countries should manage public investments to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and similar crises. It provides countries with guidance on making efficient use of public investment to support economic recovery on three different capacity levels: basic, medium, and advanced.
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.
This How to Note provides operational guidance for policymakers and IMF staff teams on designing—or revising—a fiscal strategy in resource-rich countries (RRC). Properly managed, resource revenue can support fiscal sustainability and development and equity objectives. Resource revenues also create significant stabilization challenges for fiscal policy because of their size, uncertainty, volatility, and finite nature. The guidance in this note is intended to be general and applicable to RRCs with a range of income levels, resource endowments, and macroeconomic contexts. It is designed primarily to help policymakers analyze the trade-offs associated with alternative fiscal paths and select the right fiscal strategy, given country-specific circumstances.
This guidance note describes how to use the Excel-based template developed by the Fiscal Affairs Department (FAD) of the IMF accompanying the note “How to Design a Fiscal Strategy in a Resource-Rich Country.” This template uses data inputs to generate simulations of fiscal policy dynamics. It helps IMF teams and country authorities in RRCs analyze trade-offs associated with alternative fiscal strategies for the use of public resource wealth. Visualizing these trade-offs and assessing their sensitivity to underlying macroeconomic assumptions can help inform policymakers on the most appropriate fiscal strategy, given country-specific circumstances.
Luc Eyraud, Andrew Hodge, Mr. John Ralyea, and Julien Reynaud
This note discusses how to design subnational fiscal rules, including how to select them and calibrate them. It expands on the guidance provided at the national level on rule selection and calibration in IMF (2018a) and IMF (2018b). Thinking on subnational fiscal rules is still evolving, including their effectiveness (for example, Heinemann, Moessinger, and Yeter 2018; Kotia and Lledó 2016; Foremny 2014), and this note only provides a first analysis based on international experiences and the technical assistance provided by the IMF. Main findings are summarized in Box 1. The note is divided into five sections. The first section defines fiscal rules. The second section discusses the rationale for subnational rules. The third section provides some guidance on how to select the appropriate rule(s) and whether they should differ across individual jurisdictions. The fourth section explores the issue of flexibility by looking at how rules should adjust to shocks. Finally, the last section focuses on the “calibration” of the rules.