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International Monetary Fund. Fiscal Affairs Dept.
This report reviews the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime in the Maldives and identifies policy and legal reform options to support its modernization, as well as enhancing efficiency, equity, and revenue mobilization. Despite five existing amendments to the Goods and Services Tax Act (GSTA) and 28 amendments to the associated regulations, the core parameters of the GST have barely changed in nearly 12 years. In addition, rapid changes to global business models and the increasing digitalization of the Maldivian economy have made key features of the legislation – such as place of supply rules – increasingly inadequate. The mission identified several key GST policy reforms and proposed legal redrafting recommendations that should be prioritized by the authorities in the upcoming reform window. Table 1 summarizes the potential revenue implications and implementation timeline of the main policy measures proposed.
Mr. Paul A Austin, Mr. Marco Marini, Alberto Sanchez, Chima Simpson-Bell, and James Tebrake
As the pandemic heigthened policymakers’ demand for more frequent and timely indicators to assess economic activities, traditional data collection and compilation methods to produce official indicators are falling short—triggering stronger interest in real time data to provide early signals of turning points in economic activity. In this paper, we examine how data extracted from the Google Places API and Google Trends can be used to develop high frequency indicators aligned to the statistical concepts, classifications, and definitions used in producing official measures. The approach is illustrated by use of Google data-derived indicators that predict well the GDP trajectories of selected countries during the early stage of COVID-19. To this end, we developed a methodological toolkit for national compilers interested in using Google data to enhance the timeliness and frequency of economic indicators.
Reda Cherif and Fuad Hasanov
Only a few European economies and Korea and Taiwan Province of China reached high-income status during 1970-2010. Malaysia’s real income per capita increased to 26 percent of the U.S. level in 2010 from 20 percent in 1970. Despite relatively strong growth and a substantial improvement in export sophistication, Malaysia’s total factor productivity lagged behind that of Korea and Taiwan Province of China. We argue that what characterizes their experience in contrast to Malaysia’s is the creation of technologies by domestic firms and a push to leapfrog to the technological frontier at an early stage of development.
International Monetary Fund
The framework guiding the IMF’s communications—established by the Executive Board in 2007—has enabled the institution to respond flexibly to the changing global context. The framework is based on four guiding principles: (i) deepening understanding and support for the Fund’s role and policies; (ii) better integrating communications into the IMF’s daily operations; (iii) raising the impact of new communications materials and technologies; and (iv) rebalancing outreach efforts to take account of different audiences. In addition, greater emphasis has been placed on strengthening internal communications to help ensure institutional coherence in the Fund’s outreach activities. Continued efforts are needed to strengthen communications going forward. Several issues deserve particular attention. First, taking further steps to ensure clarity and consistency in communication in a world where demand for Fund services continues to rise. Second, doing more to assess the impact of IMF communications and thus better inform efforts going forward. Third, engaging strategically and prudently with new media—including social media.
Jean-François Ruhashyankiko and Mr. Etienne B Yehoue
This paper asks whether corruption might be the outcome of a lack of outside options for public officials or civil servants. We propose an occupational choice model embedded in an agency framework to address the issue. We show that technology-induced private sector expansion leads to a decline in publicly supplied corruption as it provides outside options to public officials who might otherwise engage in corruption. We provide empirical evidence that strongly shows that technology-induced private sector development is associated with a decline in aggregate corruption. This suggests that the decline in publicly supplied corruption outweighs the potential increase in privately supplied corruption that could result from private sector expansion.
Mika Saito
This paper compares two alternative measures of technology differences across industrial countries during 1970-92: one measures differences in labor productivity (the Ricardian measure), and the other differences in total factor productivity (the Hicksian measure). The distinction between the two measures is important to the extent that trade patterns are inconsistent with comparative advantage revealed by the Hicksian measure, but not necessarily with that by the Ricardian measure. The distinction becomes more important in the period with high capital mobility across countries.
Mr. Francis Fukuyama
Social capital is an instantiated informal norm that promotes cooperation between individuals. In the economic sphere it reduces transaction costs, and in the political sphere it promotes the kind of associational life that is necessary for the success of limited government and modern democracy. Although social capital often arises from iterated Prisoner’s Dilemma games, it also is a byproduct of religion, tradition, shared historical experience, and other types of cultural norms. Thus whereas awareness of social capital is often critical for understanding development, it is difficult to generate through public policy.
Mr. Luc E. Leruth, R. Paris, and Mr. I. Ruzicka
This paper examines the role and impact of taxation on sustainable forest management. It is shown that fiscal instruments neither reinforce nor substitute for traditional regulatory approaches. Far from encouraging more sustainable forest management, fiscal instruments such as an inappropriate tax policy can actually undermine it. The paper uses the arguments at the root of the Faustmann solution to draw conclusions on the incentives for sustainable tropical forest exploitation. The paper also proposes a bond mechanism as an alternative market-based instrument to encourage sustainable forest logging while reducing monitoring costs.