Middle East and Central Asia > Armenia, Republic of

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International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This Selected Issues paper on the Republic of Armenia seeks to quantify the macroeconomic impact of the government’s reform agenda, which covers three broad areas: tax policy and pension; governance, government efficiency, and corruption; and labor market and competition. Strengthening growth and competitiveness and addressing governance problems requires comprehensive reform efforts. The new government has made it clear that fighting corruption and improving governance remain top priorities. Measures have been proposed to enhance corporate transparency, including through accounting and auditing reforms. A more systematic support program for small and medium-sized enterprises, along with labor market reforms, should also help alleviate unemployment difficulties. The simulations suggest that the government’s tax policy reform can have a positive impact on output in the medium run if it is accompanied by supporting measures. The results suggest that a full implementation of the reform package would yield substantial benefits for the economy. In particular, it could increase real GDP by as much as 7 percent over the long run.
International Monetary Fund. Fiscal Affairs Dept.
With the appointment of a new government, a lively debate has ensued about redirecting fiscal policies in support of a balanced revenue-raising strategy that is conducive to investment and growth. Currently, Armenia needs to raise more revenues in support of fiscal consolidation and to generate additional funding for developing and maintaining the physical infrastructure with special reference to the need of improving the urban built-up environment. Since the Authorities requested the mission to consider tax measures that are supportive of growth and/or tradeable sector, the proposed restructuring of taxes recognizes that real estate taxes, resource rent taxes, and broad-based consumption taxes (VAT and excises) are least distortive for growth. The 2016 Technical Assistance Mission in its report reviewed already unutilized tax bases as far as excises are concerned (taxation of gambling, mobile air time, waste packaging taxes, alcohol and tobacco taxation). As requested by the authorities, this mission focused on improving personal and business income taxes, presumptive taxation, and the recurrent real estate tax as base-broadening of the latter could support the fiscal program of the new government.
Ara Stepanyan, Agustin Roitman, Gohar Minasyan, Ms. Dragana Ostojic, and Mr. Natan P. Epstein
In the face of sharply lower oil prices and geopolitical tensions and sanctions, economic activity in Russia decelerated in late 2014, resulting in negative spillovers on Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and, to a lesser extent, on Baltic countries. The spillovers to eastern Europe have been limited. The degree of impact is commensurate with the level of these countries’ trade, remittances, and foreign direct investment (FDI) links with Russia. So far, policy action by the affected countries has focused on mitigating the immediate consequences of spillovers.
Knarik Ayvazyan and Ms. Teresa Daban Sanchez
Using a structural vector auto-regression (SVAR) model, this paper examines the size, geographical sources, and transmission channels of global and regional shocks to the Armenian economy. Results show that Armenian economic activity is strongly influenced by global demand shocks and changes in oil prices, yet relatively immune to financial volatility. Transmission takes place through the Russian and EU economies, remittances, and external borrowing. The role of exports and tourism is low. Russia is key in transforming the potentially negative impact of an increase in oil prices into a positive event, through stronger remittances and exports. Services and construction, which depend significantly on remittances and external borrowing, are the most affected by global and regional shocks.
Ara Stepanyan, Agustin Roitman, Gohar Minasyan, Ms. Dragana Ostojic, and Mr. Natan P. Epstein
In the face of sharply lower oil prices and geopolitical tensions and sanctions, economic activity in Russia decelerated in late 2014, resulting in negative spillovers on Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and, to a lesser extent, on Baltic countries. The spillovers to eastern Europe have been limited. The degree of impact is commensurate with the level of these countries’ trade, remittances, and foreign direct investment (FDI) links with Russia. So far, policy action by the affected countries has focused on mitigating the immediate consequences of spillovers.
International Monetary Fund
Structural policies have become a prominent feature of today’s macroeconomic policy discussion. For many countries, lackluster economic growth and high unemployment cloud the outlook. With fewer traditional policy options, policymakers are increasingly focused on the complementary role of structural policies in promoting more durable job-rich growth. In particular, the G20 has emphasized the essential role of structural reforms in ensuring strong, sustainable and balanced growth. Against this backdrop, the 2014 Triennial Surveillance Review (TSR) called for further work to enhance the Fund’s ability to selectively provide more expert analysis and advice on structural issues, particularly where there is broad interest among member countries. The purpose of this paper is to engage the Board on staff’s post-TSR work toward strengthening the Fund’s capacity to analyze and, where relevant, offer policy advice on macro-relevant structural issues.
International Monetary Fund
As a companion piece to the Board paper on Structural Reforms and Macroeconomic Performance: Initial Considerations for the Fund, this paper presents a selection of case studies on the structural reform experiences of member countries. These papers update the Board on work since the Triennial Surveillance Review toward strengthening the Fund’s capacity to analyze and, where relevant, offer policy advice on macro-relevant structural issues. The paper builds on the already considerable analytical work underway across the Fund, setting out considerations to support a more strategic approach going forward.
Ms. Pritha Mitra, Amr Hosny, Gohar Abajyan, and Mr. Mark Fischer
The Middle East and Central Asia’s economic growth potential is slowing faster than in other emerging and developing regions, dampening hopes for reducing persistent unemployment and improving the region’s generally low living standards. Why? And is it possible to alter this course? This paper addresses these questions by estimating potential growth, examining its supply-side drivers, and assessing which of them could be most effective in raising potential growth. The analysis reveals that the region’s potential growth is expected to slow by ¾ of a percentage point more than the EMDC average over the next five years. The reasons behind this slowdown differ across the region. Lower productivity growth drives the slowdown in the Caucasus and Central Asia and is also weighing on growth across the Middle East (MENAP); while a lower labor contribution to potential growth is the main driver in MENAP. Moving forward, given some natural constraints on labor, total factor productivity growth is key to unlocking the region’s higher growth potential. For oil importers, raising physical capital accumulation through greater investment will also play an important role.