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International Monetary Fund. African Dept. and International Monetary Fund. Strategy, Policy, & Review Department
South Sudan is a very fragile post-conflict state and one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to climate-driven disasters. The pandemic reversed the economic recovery that followed the 2018 peace agreement. The oil price shock from the pandemic resulted in a massive loss of revenue, causing the government to run up expenditure arrears and resume monetary financing. This led to sharp exchange rate depreciation and runaway inflation. The policies implemented under a Staff Monitored Program (SMP) that was approved in March 2021 and supported by two disbursements under the RCF (in November 2020 and March 2021) have helped restore macroeconomic stability and eliminate a long-standing system of multiple exchange rates. Higher oil prices have dampened the effects of floods on lower oil production and sustained international reserves in the face of a rising import bill. The sharp rise in global food prices risks is exacerbating the dire humanitarian situation in South Sudan, where 70 percent of the population suffers from acute food insecurity, at a time when aid budgets are being cut.
Sailendra Pattanayak, Racheeda Boukezia, Yasemin Hurcan, and Ramon Hurtado
Fiscal institutional capacity in most fragile states (FS) and several low-income developing countries (LIDCs) is much lower than in other countries. Governments in these countries face several cash management challenges because they often lack credible budgets, have smaller and less diversified revenue bases, have limited access to financial markets, and rely largely on donors to fund a large portion of their budgets. Available public funds in these countries often remain dispersed outside the control of the ministry of finance. In the absence of a good cash forecasting function, these countries typically resort to cash rationing to meet their priority spending needs, often in an ad hoc manner, which can adversely affect budget execution and achievement of fiscal policy targets. This note sets out the key objectives and building blocks of a cash management function in FS and LIDCs. It suggests several measures to progressively build cash management capacity in three interrelated areas: consolidating cash resources, forecasting cash flows, and managing cash balances with sound institutional setups.
International Monetary Fund. Strategy, Policy, & Review Department
Over the course of the pandemic, the Fund has made several modifications to the access limits on the use of Fund’s resources to increase the borrowing space under the hard caps on emergency financing and under the annual limits that trigger exceptional access (EA) safeguards under GRA and PRGT. The current temporarily-increased access limits expire at end-December 2021, and absent policy changes, the limits would return to the lower pre-pandemic levels or to the new PRGT annual access limit. Staff proposes to let all access limits return to pre-pandemic levels (or the new PRGT annual access limit), with the exception of the cumulative access limits for emergency financing instruments, which would be extended at the current level for another 18 months.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
A 9-month Staff Monitored Program (SMP) combined with a disbursement under the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF) of 50 percent of quota (about US$174 million) was approved on March 30, 2021 to address BOP challenges and build a track record towards an upper credit tranche financial arrangement. This followed a disbursement under the RCF in November 2020 of 15 percent of quota (about US$52 million), which was the first-ever financial disbursement from the Fund to South Sudan. Progress has continued in implementing the revitalized peace agreement of 2018: following the formation of a unity government in February 2020 and the appointment of state governors in June 2020, the national parliament was sworn into office in August 2021. The humanitarian situation remains dire, with about 60 percent of the population facing high levels of acute food insecurity.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
Sudan, with the support of the international community, is implementing an ambitious reform program to address major macroeconomic imbalances and support sustainable, inclusive growth. A new transitional government was established in the wake of the 2019 revolution with the mandate to carry out sweeping reforms to reverse decades of economic and social decline. The government is pursuing a transformational reform agenda focused on: (i) achieving internal peace based on inclusion, regional equity, and justice; (ii) stabilizing the economy and correcting large macroeconomic imbalances; (iii) providing a foundation for future rapid growth, development, and poverty reduction; and (iv) improving governance and transparency.
International Monetary Fund. Office of Budget and Planning
Amidst the unfolding COVID-19 crisis, the Fund faces twin challenges. Signs of early crisis recovery are uneven across countries, and many face daunting crisis legacies. At the same time, longer term challenges from climate change, digitalization and increasing divergence within and between countries demand stepped up effort by the Fund within its areas of expertise and in partnership with others. FY 22-24 budget framework. Considering these challenges and following a decade of flat real budgets, staff will propose a structural augmentation for consideration by fall 2021 to be implemented over two to three years beginning in FY 23. Recognizing the importance of ongoing fiscal prudence, the budget would remain stable thereafter on a real basis at a new, higher level. FY 22 administrative budget. The proposed FY 22 budget sustains crisis response and provides incremental resources for long-term priorities within the flat real budget envelope. The budget is built on extensive reprioritization; savings, including from modernization; and a proposed temporary increase in the carry forward ceiling to address crisis needs during the FY 22 to FY 24 period. Capital budget. Large-scale business modernization programs continue to be rolled out, strengthening the agility and efficiency of the Fund’s operations. In response to the shift towards cloud-based IT solutions, staff propose a change in the budgetary treatment of these expenses. Investment in facilities will focus on timely updates, repairs, and modernization, preparing for the post-crisis Fund where virtual engagement and a new hybrid office environment play a larger role. Budget sustainability. The FY 22–24 medium-term budget framework, including assumptions for a material augmentation, is consistent with a projected surplus in the Fund’s medium-term income position and with continued progress towards the precautionary balance target for coming years. Budget risks. In the midst of a global crisis, risks to the budget remain elevated and above risk acceptance levels, including from uncertainty around the level of demand for Fund programs and ensuing staffing needs, as well as future donor funding for CD. Enterprise risk management continues to be strengthened with this budget.
International Monetary Fund. Strategy, Policy, & Review Department
The coverage of risks has become more systematic since the Global Financial Crisis (GFC): staff reports now regularly identify major risks and provide an assessment of their likelihood and economic impact, summarized in Risk Assessment Matrices (RAM). But still limited attention is paid to the range of possible outcomes. Also, risk identification is useful only so much as to inform policy design to preemptively respond to relevant risks and/or better prepare for them. In this regard, policy recommendations in surveillance could be richer in considering various risk management approaches. To this end, progress is needed on two dimensions: • Increasing emphasis on the range of potential outcomes to improve policy design. • Encouraging more proactive policy advice on how to manage risks. Efforts should continue to leverage internal and external resources to support risk analysis and advice in surveillance.