Middle East and Central Asia > Iraq

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International Monetary Fund. Fiscal Affairs Dept.
This report summarizes key findings and recommendations from a remote technical assistance (TA) assignment performed by a short-term expert (STX), Mr. Djamel Bouhabel, from January 17 to February 4, 2021, to the General Customs Authority of Iraq (GCA). The main objective of the TA was to advise GCA on the development and effective application of customs assessment processes based on international standards and best practices.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
This paper discusses Central African Republic’s (CAR) Request for a Three-Year Arrangement Under the Extended Credit Facility. Consistent with the IMF’s Country Engagement Strategy, the IMF-supported program is expected to support the implementation of the peace agreement and of CAR’s medium-term development strategy. Its main objectives are to maintain macroeconomic stability, strengthen administrative capacity, governance, and the business climate, and address CAR’s protracted balance of payments needs. Fiscal policy will focus on revenue mobilization, spending prioritization, and strengthening public financial management, with a view to allow, over the medium term, the durable financing of CAR’s considerable security, social, and infrastructure spending needs. Structural reforms will aim at improving the government’s capacity to design and implementing policies and reforms, at enhancing governance, including through strengthening anticorruption institutions, and at removing bottlenecks and regulatory impediments to private investment. The new arrangement will also help catalysing external concessional financing from other development partners, which is critical to support CAR’s path out of fragility. The IMF will also continue its extensive capacity development on priorities that are aligned with the program objectives.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This paper discusses Jordan’s Second Review under the Extended Arrangement under the Extended Fund Facility, Requests for a Waiver of Nonobservance of Performance Criterion, an extension of the arrangement, and rephasing of access. Discussions highlight that the Jordanian authorities have preserved macroeconomic stability, maintain a prudent monetary policy, and ensured a sound financial system. Jordan faces a challenging environment—including low economic growth, high unemployment, and elevated public debt—underscoring the importance of swiftly implementing policies and reforms to bring public debt on a downward path, boost investment and productivity, and enhance inclusive growth. The enactment of long needed growth-enhancing reforms is encouraging, including the secured transactions law, the bankruptcy law, and the business-inspections law. The international community has strongly supported the new government’s commitment to maintain the reform momentum, strengthen growth, and reduce public debt. The London Initiative in February 2019 has helped unlock essential budget grants and concessional financing to support the authorities’ reform program.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
Iraq is an oil-dependent and state-dominated fragile economy that has been hit hard by the conflict with ISIS and the fall in oil prices. The conflict has hurt the economy through displacement and impoverishment of millions of people, and destruction of infrastructure and assets. The oil price decline has resulted in a massive reduction in budget revenue, pushing the fiscal deficit to an unsustainable level. The authorities are responding to the crisis with ambitious but necessary fiscal adjustment while maintaining their commitment to the exchange rate peg, which provides a key nominal anchor in a highly uncertain environment.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This 2017 Article IV Consultation highlights a double shock facing Iraq as a result of the conflict with the Islamic State and the plunge in oil prices. In 2016, real GDP increased by 11 percent owing to a 25 percent increase in oil production, which was little affected by the conflict with the Islamic State. Falling oil prices have driven the decline in Iraq’s international reserves from $54 billion at the end of 2015 to $45 billion at the end of 2016. Medium-term growth prospects are positive. Growth will be driven by the projected moderate increase in oil production and the rebound in non-oil growth supported by the expected improvement in security and implementation of structural reform.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This Selected Issues paper discusses the need to reduce Iraq’s current expenditure to create fiscal space for inclusive growth. Iraq’s public spending is high in international comparison and is driven by its two largest components: compensation of public employees and social transfers. The reform of social welfare cash transfer programs promises to improve their large targeting errors and result in greater capacity to address poverty at a lower fiscal cost. The government also needs to introduce further amendments to the draft pension bill and critically review programs benefiting victims of war and political persecution to improve their targeting and limit their potential for abuse and a negative impact on the labor supply.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This 2017 Article IV Consultation highlights that Jordan has made significant progress since the 2014 Article IV Consultation but pressing challenges remain. The gradual pick-up in growth from 2010 to 2014 ended in 2015, with real GDP growth decelerating from 2.4 percent in 2015 to 2 percent in 2016. Labor market conditions have remained challenging, particularly for youth and women, with the unemployment rate increasing to 15.8 percent in the second half of 2016. Despite considerable progress and recent improvements, the outlook remains challenging. Real GDP growth is projected to reach 2.3 percent in 2017, while inflation is expected to stabilize at about 2.5 percent by year-end.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This paper discusses Jordan’s Request for an extended arrangement under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF). The economic growth of Jordan remains below potential. Unemployment is high, particularly for youth and women, and the refugee crisis is weighing on the economy and public finances. Real GDP growth is projected to increase to 2.8 percent in 2016, supported by lower oil prices relative to their 2014 peak, an accommodative monetary stance, and some recovery in private investment. In view of Jordan’s balance of payment needs, the policy actions already taken, and the comprehensive package of adjustment measures proposed by the authorities, the IMF staff supports the authorities’ request for an extended arrangement under the EFF.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
This 2016 Article IV Consultation highlights that economic growth in the Central African Republic has remained anemic since 2013 owing to structural rigidities, poor infrastructure, and limited energy supply. Inflation reached 11.6 percent in 2014 and receded to 4.5 percent in 2015 thanks to improved supply conditions and a fall in the prices of basic imports. Corrective measures implemented in 2015 allowed revenue to reach 7.1 percent. IMF Executive Directors have commended the authorities for the progress achieved under their economic program supported by the Rapid Credit Facility, which has helped stabilize the economy, rebuild core administrative capacity, and improve the management of public resources.