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International Monetary Fund. Statistics Dept.
In response to a request from the Government of Kenya, an AFRITAC East (AFE) government finance statistics (GFS) technical assistance (TA) mission was conducted in Nairobi, Kenya, during October 7–16, 2019. The primary objective of the mission was to support staff in improving the quality of fiscal and public debt data for the general government and migration of the fiscal framework to Government Finance Statistics Manual 2014 (GFSM 2014) concepts to facilitate fiscal and debt policy analysis for improved public financial management. This is a continuation of the ongoing efforts in capacity development aimed at supporting member countries to adopt the GFSM 2014 and the Public Sector Debt Statistics Guide (PSDSG 2011).
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
The main objective of this technical note is to analyze the supervision and systemic risk management of financial market infrastructures (FMIs) in the United Kingdom. It focuses on the supervision of FMIs, including the regulatory framework, supervisory practices, available resources, transparency, adoption of international standards and coordination and cooperation mechanisms among authorities, both domestically and cross-border; identification and management of interdependencies among FMIs, clearing members and markets, as well as other mechanisms for monitoring of system-wide risks that may exacerbate a crisis and impact financial stability in the United Kingdom and worldwide; and recovery and resolution of FMIs as relatively new instruments to sustain critical operations and services.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
This paper discusses key findings of the detailed assessment of implementation of the European Central Bank (ECB) Observance of the Committee on Payment and Settlement Systems/International Organization of Securities Commission (CPSS-IOSCO) responsibilities of authorities for financial market infrastructures. The oversight framework of the ECB is comprehensive. The ECB has developed a wide-ranging oversight policy, including quantitative and qualitative criteria to identify, monitor, and remedy any potential systemic risks related to financial market infrastructures. It has also developed oversight standards covering a broad range of infrastructures, service providers, and payment schemes within the euro area.
Mr. Marc G Quintyn, Ms. Rosaria Vega Pansini, and Donato Masciandaro
The Asian financial crisis marked the beginning of worldwide efforts to improve the effectiveness of financial supervision. However, the crisis that started in 2007?08 was a crude awakening: several of these improvements seemed unable to avoid or mitigate the crisis. This paper brings the first systematic analysis of the role of two of these efforts - modifications in the architecture of financial supervision and in supervisory governance - and concludes that they were negatively correlated with economic resilience. Using the emerging distinction between macro- and micro-prudential supervision, we explore to what extent two separate institutions would allow for more checks and balances to improve supervisory governance and, thus, reduce the probability of supervisory failure.
Ms. Stefania Fabrizio
This paper assesses the proposal, publicly debated in recent years in Italy, to reduce public debt by selling public assets, especially nonfinancial tangible assets. The main findings indicate that, although selling public assets has some merit if done to make more productive use of them, practical complications abound. Moreover, such sales might weaken underlying fiscal discipline. Other heavily indebted countries have reduced their debt much more than Italy without heavy recourse to extraordinary sales. In this context, the case of Belgium is of particular interest. Weighing the trade-offs, if properly and transparently done, the sale of public assets can complement, to a limited extent, fiscal consolidation, but should not be considered as an alternative to it.
Mr. Manmohan S. Kumar and Mrs. Teresa Ter-Minassian

Abstract

Fiscal discipline is essential to improve and sustain economic performance, maintain macroeconomic stability, and reduce vulnerabilities. Discipline is especially important if countries, industrial as well as developing, are to successfully meet the challenges, and reap the benefits, of economic and financial globalization. Lack of fiscal discipline generally stems from the injudicious use of policy discretion. The benefits of discretion are seen in terms of the ability of policymakers to respond to unexpected shocks and in allowing elected political representatives to fulfill their mandates. But discretion can be misused, resulting in persistent deficits and procyclical policies, rising debt levels, and, over time, a loss in policy credibility. The authors first explore the role of discretion in fiscal policy, and the extent, consequences, and causes of procyclicality, particularly in good times. They then examine how a variety of institutional approaches—fiscal rules, fiscal responsibility laws, and fiscal agencies—can help improve fiscal discipline. While each of these approaches can play a useful role, the authors suggest that a strategy combining them is likely to be particularly beneficial. Although such a strategy requires political commitment and effective fiscal management, at the same time, the strategy itself can bolster political commitment by highlighting the restraints on government and raising the costs of failing to respect them.

International Monetary Fund
This paper assesses Paraguay’s First Review Under the Stand-By Arrangement and Request for Waiver of Nonobservance and Applicability of Performance Criteria. Paraguay has made significant progress in the first months of the program. Economic activity has strengthened, inflation prospects have improved, and renewed confidence in economic policy management has helped boost banking system deposits and central bank reserves. Fiscal performance has been favorable, but continued reforms are needed to keep the program on track. The IMF staff welcomes the authorities’ efforts to address Paraguay’s payments arrears difficulties.
International Monetary Fund
This paper reviews the financial implications of aging for the pension system in Belgium during 1995-2050. Our simulations indicate a strong rise in pension expenditure over the next half century, as is the case in other industrialized countries. In Belgium, the problem is particularly acute in the pension system for civil servants. The impact of amending indexation of pension benefits and their ceilings, of harmonizing pension schemes for public and private sector employees, and of increasing the mandatory retirement age is discussed. We also calculate rates of return on the participation in the Belgian pension system and present some evidence on the intergenerational impact of the different reform options.
International Monetary Fund
This Selected Background Issues paper analyzes sectoral wage differentiation and labor cost issues in Belgium. The paper discusses wage dispersion across sectors in Belgium and compares it with the pattern in other European countries. It analyzes the data for the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development used in the Central Economic Council assessment of competitiveness, underscoring the role of social security contributions and restrictions on part-time work in the evolution of labor costs per employee. The paper also examines trends in saving and investment, and the pension reform in Belgium.
International Monetary Fund
This Selected Background Issues paper analyzes the competitiveness issues for Belgium and analyzes in what sense competitiveness is important for the country. The paper summarizes the approach followed in Belgium to measure developments in this respect. It discusses alternative indicators, including the current account of the balance of payments, and concludes that competitiveness is not currently a problem in Belgium. The paper also analyzes the rise in the current account surplus, and links it to the saving-investment balance.