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Abstract

Drawing on the Fund’s analytical and capacity development work, including Public Investment Management Assessments (PIMAs) carried out in more than 60 countries, the new book Well Spent: How Strong Infrastructure Governance Can End Waste in Public Investment will address how countries can attain quality infrastructure outcomes through better infrastructure governance—an issue becoming increasingly important in the context of the Great Lockdown and its economic consequences. It covers critical issues such as infrastructure investment and Sustainable Development Goals, controlling corruption, managing fiscal risks, integrating planning and budgeting, and identifying best practices in project appraisal and selection. It also covers emerging areas in infrastructure governance, such as maintaining and managing public infrastructure assets and building resilience against climate change.

International Monetary Fund. Fiscal Affairs Dept.
Brazil is the largest country in Latin America with a varied geography and a population of over 200 million spread across 26 diverse states, generating wide-ranging infrastructure needs. Over the decades, many government investment initiatives have been launched to address these needs, however there remains a significant infrastructure gap in Brazil which continues to hamper growth potential. Over the past two decades, public investment has been considerably below the regional and income group averages and this has translated into much lower capital stock. Public investment averaged around 2 percent of GDP during the period 1995 to 2015, compared with 6.4 percent for Emerging Market Economies (EME) and 5.5 percent for Latin American Countries (LAC). As a result, public capital stock in 2015 was only 35 percent of GDP compared with an average of 92 for EME and 87 for LAC.
International Monetary Fund. Fiscal Affairs Dept.
Brazil is the largest country in Latin America with a varied geography and a population of over 200 million spread across 26 diverse states, generating wide-ranging infrastructure needs. Over the decades, many government investment initiatives have been launched to address these needs, however there remains a significant infrastructure gap in Brazil which continues to hamper growth potential. Over the past two decades, public investment has been considerably below the regional and income group averages and this has translated into much lower capital stock. Public investment averaged around 2 percent of GDP during the period 1995 to 2015, compared with 6.4 percent for Emerging Market Economies (EME) and 5.5 percent for Latin American Countries (LAC). As a result, public capital stock in 2015 was only 35 percent of GDP compared with an average of 92 for EME and 87 for LAC.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This Selected Issues paper analyzes the drivers of wage growth and inflation in Estonia. The analysis reveals that the role played by the inflation and inflation expectations in Estonia is different from those of the EU15. The impact of inflation on wage formation is smaller than in larger and richer countries with lower inflation volatility. This has limited the downward pressure on wages during the period of very low inflation in 2014–16. Although there has been an episode of wage growth leading inflation before the global financial crisis, the current simultaneous acceleration in prices and wages is not evidence of a developing wage-price spiral, as a significant share of the increase in inflation is owing to exogenous factors.
Allan Dizioli, Mr. Philippe D Karam, Mr. Dirk V Muir, and Siegfried Steinlein
This paper revisits options for fiscal anchors in Australia against the backdrop of a medium-term budget balance anchor that has led to larger than expected upward drift in the net debt to GDP ratio since the end of the mining investment boom. The IMF’s G20MOD model is used to compare the budget balance anchor with a long-term debt anchor. Using model simulations evaluated against objective macro stabilization-debt control criteria under three likely scenarios for the Australian economy, the latter is found to perform at least as well as the former. The paper also considers the operationalization of a long-term debt anchor utilizing a combination of fiscal rules which includes expenditure restrictions and a flexible time horizon for convergence, aiming at encouraging countercyclical fiscal policy and minimizing the cost in terms of real GDP foregone in the medium term under fiscal consolidation.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This paper describes the proposed Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) that will be allocated Can$35 billion over an 11-year period. It will add to, and not replace, existing methods of financing public infrastructure at all levels of government, including the Federal Government’s Can$187 billion Investing in Canada plan covering 12 years. The CIB will be a wholly government-owned Crown corporation, subject to provisions of the Financial Administration Act (FAA), including the requirement to prepare a corporate plan, operating budget, and capital budget, for approval by the Government. The CIB and its investments will be on the federal government’s balance sheet. However, the infrastructure-related special purpose vehicles (SPVs) in which the CIB invests will not be on the government’s balance sheet. Attracting private capital requires offering a rate of return acceptable to the investor. Worldwide, there are trillions of dollars looking for safe returns over the long-term. The risk-adjusted rate of return sufficient to attract an investor is not known with precision ex-ante. Investors will seek the highest rate of return possible above its minimum threshold.
Mr. Sandeep Saxena and Mr. Sami Yläoutinen
Virements are useful instruments of budget flexibility. If carried out transparently and within accepted limits, virements can promote expenditure efficiency. Large, unregulated virements can undermine budget credibility and the budget’s relevance as principal policy and financial planning instrument. This note defines virements, clarifies their purpose, and specifies what general and country-specific considerations should guide the design of a virement framework. The note argues that countries should design virement policies maintaining balance between their budget flexibility and accountability needs, and keeping in view the legal-cultural environment and the state of development of their public financial management.
International Monetary Fund. Fiscal Affairs Dept.
This Technical Assistance report reviews South Africa’s tax system and also examines the fiscal regime with a view to generating a sustainable revenue contribution from mining and petroleum in future. Mining has historically been the mainstay of the South African economy. Mineral exports remain the principal contributor to foreign exchange earnings on the current account. South Africa is not yet a significant producer of crude oil or natural gas. Oil and gas exploration nevertheless shows promise. Taxation is far from top of the list in current challenges facing the development of extractive industries in South Africa. The national goal of economic and social transformation in favor of Historically Disadvantaged South Africans has major impact on the mining sector.
International Monetary Fund
Through the provision of both social and economic infrastructure, public investment can serve as an important catalyst for economic growth. A significant body of theoretical and empirical research underscores the positive relationship between investment in high-quality public infrastructure and economy-wide productivity.1 Against the background of a steady decline in public investment as a share of GDP in advanced economies, evidence of infrastructure bottlenecks in emerging economies, and the sluggish global economic recovery, the G-20 has called for ramping up public investment to raise long-run economic growth (G-20, 2014).2 However, the economic and social impact of public investment crucially depends on its efficiency. Despite anecdotal evidence of projects plagued by time delays, cost overruns, and inadequate maintenance, there are few robust empirical studies of the determinants of public investment efficiency. This paper explores the link between public investment management (PIM) institutions and the efficiency of public investment for the G-20 countries. Based on the analysis from a recent IMF study, the paper finds that better PIM enhances public infrastructure quality, and pinpoints key institutional reforms needs to boost public investment efficiency (IMF 2015). These findings and recommendations are based on a comprehensive data set on investment, infrastructure and capital stocks, and two analytical innovations: (i) a new cross-country Public Investment Efficiency Index (PIE-X); and (ii) a new Public Investment Management Assessment (PIMA) which is applied to G-20 countries.
Ms. Elva Bova, Mr. Robert Dippelsman, Ms. Kara C Rideout, and Ms. Andrea Schaechter
When discussing debt reduction strategies, little attention has been given to the role of governments’ nonfinancial assets. This is in part because data are scarce. Drawing on various data sources, this paper looks at the size, composition, and management of state-owned nonfinancial assets across 32 economies, with particular focus on the advanced G-20 economies. We find that reported nonfinancial assets comprise mostly structures (such as roads and buildings) and,when valued, land. These assets have increased over time, mostly due to higher property and commodity prices, and are, in large part, owned by subnational governments. Many countries have launched reforms with a view to streamlining public administrations, but receipts and savings have been rather small so far. Governments tend to consider relatively small sets of assets to be disposable, though preferences could change in the future. A potential source for future revenues could be greater reliance on user charges, such as road tolls. In most cases, a first step for more effective asset management has to be the expansion and improvement of data compilation.