Middle East and Central Asia > Azerbaijan, Republic of

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Mr. Clinton R. Shiells
In view of disappointing levels of inward foreign direct investment (FDI), this paper examines capital flows into the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries and investigates the main impediments to a more favorable investment climate. Direct investment inflows have generally been related to natural resource extraction or energy transportation infrastructure projects, large privatization transactions, and debt/equity swaps to pay for energy supplies. Low FDI inflows despite strengthening macroeconomic performance has reflected a weak investment climate particularly owing to incomplete structural reforms. IMF staff working on the countries concerned cited burdensome tax systems, widespread corruption, extensive state intervention coupled with weak legal and regulatory frameworks, and incomplete structural reforms as the main impediments.
Ms. Gabriela Inchauste
This paper aims to inform on the status of Poverty and Social Impact Analysis (PSIA) in IMF-supported programs, detailing the results presented in the recent review of PRGF-supported programs. The review showed that more needs to be done, both in undertaking PSIA when necessary, and in reporting the policy tradeoffs in program documents. Policy design should be continuously informed by the results of PSIA.
Mr. Clinton R. Shiells, Mr. John R Dodsworth, and Mr. Paul Henri Mathieu
This paper explores from a regional perspective the distorted nature of trade in energy products within the CIS countries. The persistence of pricing distortions, barter arrangements, and discriminatory access to pipelines, as well as failure to honor contracts, has disrupted and distorted energy exports to non-CIS countries, undermined energy sector reforms, and distorted investment decisions. The paper focuses on cross-border issues as an integral component of the wider problem of inefficient energy use within the CIS. Several policy recommendations are proposed, including measures to foster greater competition, reduce state involvement, and promote regional cooperation.
Mr. Julio Escolano and Mr. Parthasarathi Shome
Two possible tax policy strategies for the NIS are: (1) an optimal nondistortionary tax structure as a one-shot action; and (2) a structure with identifiable and clearly understood distortionary elements as a temporary phenomenon to close the fiscal gap. An assessment of NIS tax structures reveals that they conform to neither. They are rapidly acquiring complex features comprising multiple rates, exemptions, and other difficult-to administer properties, with uncertain ramifications for efficiency, equity, and the fiscal deficit. Steady--and perhaps prolonged--effort needs to be made if simple, broad-based, and revenue-productive tax structures are to be achieved. This is a Paper on Policy Analysis and Assessment and the author(s) would welcome any comments on the present text. Citations should refer to a Paper on Policy Analysis and Assessment of the International Monetary Fund, mentioning the author(s) and the date of issuance. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of the Fund.