This paper examines the role that privatization can play within a wider strategy designed to overcome the problems associated with public enterprises. For this purpose, privatization is defined as a transfer of ownership and control from the public to the private sector, with particular reference to asset sales. It is therefore equated with total or partial denationalization. Economic efficiency is not only the key to improving the performance of the public enterprise sector, but is also the source of other gains often attributed to privatization, in particular, its favorable budgetary impact. To public enterprises that are subject to national or international competition, privatization offers the possibility of increased productive efficiency as government financial backing is withdrawn and bankruptcy and takeover become possibilities. The admissibility and desirability of privatization, as well as what types of enterprise should be privatized, ought to be determined by similar considerations in both industrial and developing countries.
In recent years, the IMF has released a growing number of reports and other documents covering economic and financial developments and trends in member countries. Each report, prepared by a staff team after discussions with government officials, is published at the option of the member country.
This paper reviews economic developments in Malta during 1995–97. The brisk pace of GDP growth was maintained in 1995–96. However, the strong output growth was accompanied by a sharp deterioration in the external accounts, reflecting, in the main, a decline in national savings, from 27¾ percent of GDP in 1992–93 to some 20 percent of GDP in 1995–96. Factors contributing to these developments included a marked loosening in the fiscal stance and accelerated growth in bank lending, linked in part to financial market deregulation and intensified competition among banks.
This paper describes economic developments in Cape Verde during 1990–96. After a noticeable slowdown during 1989–91, the Cape Verdean economy rebounded in 1992 and continued to expand in 1993–95, prompted by a sustained increase in public spending and the positive effects of a liberalization of economic activities. Real GDP growth averaged 4 percent during 1992–95, but domestic, economic, and financial developments were characterized by increasing imbalances. Total government expenditure increased rapidly, reaching on average 60.1 percent of GDP in 1994–95, far outpacing any growth in domestic revenues and external grants.
This paper reviews economic developments in Portugal during 1990–95. Economic activity rebounded weakly in 1994, growing by 1 percent after a fall of 1.2 percent in 1993. The recession in 1993 was deeper, and the recovery in 1994 weaker than that experienced by the European Union as a whole. Thus, real convergence with Europe was interrupted: although Portuguese GDP per capita increased from 51.4 percent of the European Union average in 1985 to 64.8 percent in 1992, it fell back to 64.4 percent by 1994.
Mr. Clive S. Gray, R. P. Short, and Mr. Robert H. Floyd
This volume, written by Robert H. Floyd, Clive S. Gray, and R.P. Short, contains three papers dealing with various aspects of the public enterprise sector and the impact that these may have on macroeconomic analysis.