Western Hemisphere > Costa Rica

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Lucía Pérez Fragoso and Corina Rodríguez Enríquez
Gender budgeting is an approach to fiscal policy and administration that integrates considerations of women’s equality and advancement into the budget. Latin American countries have undertaken diverse gender budgeting initiatives, most of them addressing public expenditures. This paper surveys and assesses some key initiatives, including those in Mexico, Mexico City, Ecuador, Bolivia, and El Salvador, and briefly summarizes others. The five key initiatives offer different perspectives on how countries approach gender budgeting. We find that these initiatives are contributing to the reduction of gender inequality and the advancement of women in Latin America, though there is scope to strengthen them.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This paper focuses on policies to raise growth; underpin fiscal sustainability while enhancing social safety nets; and strengthen financial sector stability, deepening, and inclusiveness. GDP growth has averaged 2 percent during 2000–14, well below the Central American regional average of 4½ percent. While the underlying causes of the low growth are complex, a key channel through which they are expressed appears to be low investment. Given the need to increase growth, revenue-raising measures should be accompanied by cuts in distortionary taxation. Stress tests suggest that financial buffers are adequate to contain most risks. The financial deepening and advancing financial inclusion could have a meaningful impact on both growth and poverty.

Abstract

La eficiencia, la eficacia y la transparencia de la gestión financiera pública en América Latina son fundamentales para la supervisión de los recursos públicos, la estabilidad fiscal y el desarrollo económico sostenible. En años recientes, los países de América Latina han adoptado reformas en la gestión financiera pública y han logrado muchos avances importantes; sin embargo, todavía existen retos. Este libro reúne el conocimiento y las experiencias del personal técnico del FMI y el BID y de representantes de 16 Gobiernos de la región para documentar estas reformas, y examina las experiencias y las lecciones aprendidas. Es un recurso valioso para quienes se ocupan de estos temas en la gestión financiera pública.

Abstract

In recent years, the countries of Latin America have embraced reforms in public financial management and have made many important advances—however, many challenges remain. This book brings together IMF and IDB staff and representatives from 16 governments in the region to document these reforms, and to examine the experiences and lessons learned. It is a valuable resource for those looking at issues in public financial management.

International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
KEY ISSUES Focus: The main themes centered on tackling macroeconomic vulnerabilities and improving the medium-term outlook by achieving an ambitious fiscal adjustment while protecting social spending, creating an environment for higher private sector-led growth, and building a robust financial sector. Main policy issues • A reduction in the fiscal deficit of 3½ percent of GDP is needed over the next three years to place public debt on a sustainable path to maintain access to market financing on favorable terms. This adjustment should be accompanied by well- targeted social spending to protect the most vulnerable and continued progress in lessening inequality. • A broad strategy is also needed to reduce the growing imbalances in the pension system and restore its sustainability for future generations. In this regard, a broad- based dialog across all segments of Salvadoran society is needed to build support for a reform that should include an increase in the retirement age and introduce a progressive taxation of benefits. Steps are also needed to further strengthen public financial management to mitigate key fiscal risks, including by enhancing expenditure monitoring and control (to avoid future spending arrears) and recording contingent fiscal liabilities transparently in the fiscal accounts. • The authorities’ goal of raising potential growth to 3 percent while reducing inequality will require substantial supply-side measures to enhance productivity and competitiveness. These should aim to reduce red-tape, increase access to credit, upgrade infrastructure, provide access to and lower the cost of energy, and diversifying the economy. The FOMILENIO II grant from the U.S. provides a valuable opportunity to catalyze such growth-enhancing reforms. • Banking indicators appear sound, a product of prudent supervision and regulation. Nonetheless, there is scope to further strengthen the institutional underpinnings for financial stability by upgrading the legal framework for bank resolution and by creating an appropriate liquidity safety net for banks.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
Fiscal policy in Haiti should be oriented toward more developmental objectives. Steps have been taken in sustaining inclusiveness; however, the current taxation and expenditure frameworks do not completely fulfill the necessary requirements for these objectives. Inefficient public investment and lack of transparency have resulted in lower growth, lower fiscal revenue, and higher costs as well as macroeconomic imbalances, limited competitiveness, and slow economic integration. The country should take advantage of the available financial assistance and step up efforts to improve public investment quality.
Torsten Wezel
This paper investigates the efficiency of domestic and foreign banks in the Central American region during 2002-07. Using two main empirical approaches, Data Envelopment Analysis and Stochastic Frontier Analysis, the paper finds that foreign banks are not necessarily more efficient than their domestic counterparts. If anything, the regional banks that were acquired by global banks in a wave of acquisitions during 2005-07 can keep up with the local institutions. The efficiency of these acquired banks, however, is shown to have dropped during the acquisition year, recovering only slightly thereafter. Finally, it is important to account for the environment in which banks operate, as country-, sector- and firm-specific characteristics are found to have a considerable influence on bank efficiency.
International Monetary Fund
This report on the Observance of Standards and Codes on Fiscal Transparency on Costa Rica analyzes open budget preparation and assurances of integrity. A number of initiatives currently under way would further advance fiscal transparency. A clearer division of responsibilities for monetary and fiscal policies would require a strong commitment to recapitalizing fully the central bank. Policy responsibilities across general government institutions should be clarified and coordination improved. Internal audit processes should be strengthened to ensure the integrity of the financial management systems.
Mr. Tito Cordella and Mr. Eduardo Levy Yeyati
To cope with the self-fulfilling liquidity runs that triggered many recent financial crises, we propose the creation of a country insurance facility. The facility, which we envisage as complementary to the existing multilateral lending facilities, would provide eligible countries with automatic access to a credit line at a predetermined interest rate. Eligibility criteria should be easily verifiable, focus on debt sustainability, and take into account the currency and maturity composition of the debt. Other critical design issues considered here include the size of the facility, its duration and charges, and the exit costs for a country that loses eligibility.
Ms. Caroline M Kende-Robb

Abstract

The second edition of this book outline show to include the poor using the Participatory Poverty Assessment (PPA) method. This method was developed by the World Bank in partnerships with NGOs, governments, and academic institutions, and has been implemented in over 60 countries worldwide duringthe last decade. This book also draws on new PPA case examples. Joint publication with the World Bank.