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.
This Technical Assistance report discusses options to revamp the 2013 Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA), taking into account the challenges posed by the current context in Maldives. The government has not met the FRA’s numerical targets for fiscal deficits and public debt. In order to ensure fiscal sustainability and enhance transparency, the Maldivian authorities are committed to introducing a new FRA in 2021. The Government needs firm and credible targets for debt and fiscal deficits in its debt-reduction efforts; however, past experiences of noncompliance with the numerical fiscal rules has undermined its credibility. A principles-based approach, accompanied by strong accountability requirements, would provide the authorities with the flexibility to respond to adverse macroeconomic developments. The new FRA would clearly define the specific roles of Parliament and the Auditor General in the fiscal responsibility framework. This report suggests enhancing fiscal oversight by strengthening the role of Parliament and the Auditor General. The report also identifies several areas of public financial management that should be addressed in other PFM laws for the successful implementation of the new FRA.
Ms. Mercedes Garcia-Escribano, Ms. Tewodaj Mogues, Marian Moszoro, and Mauricio Soto
South Asia has experienced significant progress in improving human and physical capital over the past few decades. Within the region, India has become a global economic powerhouse with enormous development potential ahead. To foster human and economic development, India has shown a strong commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Agenda. This paper focuses on the medium-term development challenges that South Asia, and in particular India, faces to ensure substantial progress along the SDGs by 2030. We estimate the additional spending needed in critical areas of human capital (health and education) and physical capital (water and sanitation, electricity, and roads). We document progress on these five sectors for India relative to other South Asian countries and discuss implications for policy and reform.
The Maldives has identified the estimation and regular reporting of tax expenditures (TEs) as one of the top priority areas in continuing its tax modernization process. TEs are alternative policy tools (e.g., to direct transfers and other spending measures) in the form of provisions in the tax legislation that modify the tax liability of individuals or companies. The cost of TEs should be identified, measured, and publicly reported to improve transparency in fiscal management.