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Mr. Stéphane Cossé
There has been a growing recognition of the importance of transparency for economic growth and social development in oil producing countries. This paper analyzes transparency issues in Cameroon's oil sector. It shows that, while substantial efforts have already been undertaken, continued action is necessary to strengthen transparency. The paper seeks to identify why and how transparency, especially in the fiscal area, matters for economic development and poverty reduction in Cameroon.
Mr. Clinton R. Shiells
In view of disappointing levels of inward foreign direct investment (FDI), this paper examines capital flows into the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries and investigates the main impediments to a more favorable investment climate. Direct investment inflows have generally been related to natural resource extraction or energy transportation infrastructure projects, large privatization transactions, and debt/equity swaps to pay for energy supplies. Low FDI inflows despite strengthening macroeconomic performance has reflected a weak investment climate particularly owing to incomplete structural reforms. IMF staff working on the countries concerned cited burdensome tax systems, widespread corruption, extensive state intervention coupled with weak legal and regulatory frameworks, and incomplete structural reforms as the main impediments.
Mr. Stéphane Cossé
This paper assesses the main issues faced by the energy sector in a transition economy such as Romania and their macroeconomic dimension. It examines how the size of quasi-fiscal subsidies, owing mainly to inappropriate prices and the lack of financial discipline, has led to an increased focus on the energy sector under the IMF-supported programs. The paper analyzes the macroeconomic impact of recent reform measures and discusses the next steps to improve price policy and collection in energy utilities. Shifting to targeted budgetary subsidies appears also to be a crucial reform step.
Ms. Gabriela Inchauste
This paper aims to inform on the status of Poverty and Social Impact Analysis (PSIA) in IMF-supported programs, detailing the results presented in the recent review of PRGF-supported programs. The review showed that more needs to be done, both in undertaking PSIA when necessary, and in reporting the policy tradeoffs in program documents. Policy design should be continuously informed by the results of PSIA.
Mr. Clinton R. Shiells, Mr. John R Dodsworth, and Mr. Paul Henri Mathieu
This paper explores from a regional perspective the distorted nature of trade in energy products within the CIS countries. The persistence of pricing distortions, barter arrangements, and discriminatory access to pipelines, as well as failure to honor contracts, has disrupted and distorted energy exports to non-CIS countries, undermined energy sector reforms, and distorted investment decisions. The paper focuses on cross-border issues as an integral component of the wider problem of inefficient energy use within the CIS. Several policy recommendations are proposed, including measures to foster greater competition, reduce state involvement, and promote regional cooperation.
Mr. Thomas C. Dawson and Miss Gita Bhatt
In the space of just a few years, the term “civil society” has entered the international policy vocabulary in many contexts. The IMF’s engagement with civil society organizations (CSOs) raises several broad questions: Which CSOs have been, and should be, engaged by the Fund? What questions should IMF-CSO engagement address? What are the limits to the dialogue? This paper examines the evolution of IMF-civil society relations and their effects on the Fund. It also seeks to identify the tensions that underlie the relationship.
Mr. Mahmood Hasan Khan and Mr. Mohsin S. Khan
Pakistan’s economic performance has been marred by persistently high fiscal deficits which have resulted largely from the inability to raise sufficient revenues. Agriculture is a dominant sector of the economy, but generates very limited revenue from direct taxes on agricultural producers. The paper first reviews the history of attempts to tax agriculture in Pakistan, the purpose of which is to underscore the difficulty in adopting and implementing a sound agricultural tax policy. It then examines various alternatives with regard to the taxation of agricultural land and incomes. Finally, it presents the outlines of a full-fledged agricultural income tax that could be implemented within the Constitutional framework in the next three to five years.
Mr. Mahmood Hasan Khan and Mr. Mohsin S. Khan
Agriculture remains the dominant sector in the economies of most Sub-Saharan African countries. However, the experience of agricultural growth in the region stands in sharp contrast to the robust performance of agriculture in many Asian countries, particularly China. In a number of African countries, labor productivity has fallen and land productivity has not risen significantly. In China, on the other hand, land and labor productivities have increased steadily over the past two decades. An examination of factors underlying the contrasting experiences of China and countries in Sub-Saharan Africa reveals important differences in the institutional and policy environments affecting the use of new and profitable technologies to raise land and labor productivities.