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International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
The COVID-19 pandemic severely impacted Nepal’s economy. Tourist arrivals collapsed, domestic activity plummeted, and remittances have been volatile. As a result, balance of payments and fiscal financing gaps emerged. After growth was lower than expected in 2019/20, a gradual resumption in economic activity and a corresponding surge in imports and related tax receipts led to higher growth and improved fiscal outturns in 2020/21. However, important fiscal and external financing needs remain to support the COVID-19 response, facilitate a continued recovery, and maintain a comfortable level of reserves.
International Monetary Fund. Fiscal Affairs Dept.
Countries have committed, through the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), to pursue climate targets and policies that would limit global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels. A shift toward green public investment will help to mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In addition, substantial public investment will be necessary to build public infrastructure that makes economies more resilient to climate change and related natural disasters. Climate change mitigation and adaptation challenges thus compound preexisting needs for public investment to foster the economic recovery from the pandemic and to meet the SDGs in a broader range of areas, often in a context of limited fiscal space. Against this backdrop, a priority for all countries is to manage their public investment efficiently and effectively. To help countries improve the institutions and processes for infrastructure governance (the planning, allocation, and implementation of public investment), the IMF developed in 2015 the Public Investment Management Assessment (PIMA), which has already been applied in over 70 countries. However, the current PIMA does not provide a sufficiently tailored assessment of how public investment management can support climate change mitigation and adaptation. To fill this gap, this paper introduces a new module to the to the current Public Investment Management Assessment (PIMA) framework, the “Climate-PIMA” (C-PIMA), whose goal is to help governments identify potential improvements in public investment institutions and processes to build low-carbon and climate-resilient infrastructure.
Mr. Fabien Gonguet, Mr. Claude P Wendling, Ozlem Aydin Sakrak, and Bryn Battersby
Public financial management (PFM) consists of all the government’s institutional arrangements in place to facilitate the implementation of fiscal policies. In response to the growing urgency to fight climate change, “green PFM” aims at adapting existing PFM practices to support climate-sensitive policies. With the cross-cutting nature of climate change and wider environmental concerns, green PFM can be a key enabler of an integrated government strategy to combat climate change. This note outlines a framework for green PFM, emphasizing the need for an approach combining various entry points within, across, and beyond the budget cycle. This includes components such as fiscal transparency and external oversight, and coordination with state-owned enterprises and subnational governments. The note also identifies principles for effective implementation of a green PFM strategy, among which the need for a strong stewardship located within the ministry of finance is paramount.
Mr. Richard I Allen and Mr. Eivind Tandberg
Public investment is likely to be an important component of any postcrisis recovery program. As countries work to ensure a smart, green, fair recovery, investing in modern, resilient, and efficient infrastructure assets will be key. This How to Note discusses how countries should manage public investments to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and similar crises. It provides countries with guidance on making efficient use of public investment to support economic recovery on three different capacity levels: basic, medium, and advanced.
Mr. Bernardin Akitoby, Mr. Jiro Honda, and Keyra Primus
Raising revenues has been a formidable challenge for fragile and conflict-affected states (FCS), a fact confirmed once again in the COVID-19 crisis. Nonetheless, achieving sizable gains in tax collection in fragile environments is not impossible. This paper—with empirical analyses and case studies—contributes to policy discussions on tax reform in such challenging environments. Our analyses show that many FCS achieved some recovery of tax revenues, even though they found it challenging to sustain the momentum beyond three years. We also find that changes in the quality of institutions (e.g., government effectiveness and control of corruption) are a key contributory factor to their tax performance (much more so than for non-FCS). Next, we look into the tax increase episodes of four countries (Liberia, Malawi, Nepal, and the Solomon Islands). Although each FCS is unique, their experiences suggest two lessons: (i) tax reforms can be pursued even with initially weak institutions; and (ii) strong political commitment is important to sustain reform efforts and realize long-lasting, sizable gains.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This paper presents Nepal’s Request for Disbursement Under the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF). The coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic is having a severe impact on Nepal’s economy. During recent months, remittances have fallen considerably, tourist arrivals collapsed, and domestic activity has taken a hit amid social distancing measures. The authorities are taking proactive, well-targeted measures to address the human and economic impact of the pandemic, while preserving macroeconomic stability. Such measures include increasing health spending, strengthening social assistance to protect the most vulnerable, and providing bank liquidity and credit support. Additional assistance from development partners, beyond what had already been committed before the outbreak of the pandemic, is needed to close the remaining balance of payments gap and ease the fiscal situation. The authorities’ commitment to high standards of transparency and governance in the management of financial assistance is welcome. The IMF staff assesses that Nepal meets the RCF eligibility requirements and supports the request. Public debt is at low risk of distress and there is adequate capacity to repay the Fund. The IMF disbursement is expected to play a catalytic role in securing additional financing from Nepal’s development partners.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This 2020 Article IV Consultation focuses on Nepal’s near and medium-term challenges and policy priorities and was prepared before coronavirus disease 2019 became a global pandemic and resulted in unprecedented strains in global trade, commodity and financial markets. During recent years, strong growth in Nepal has been supported by greater political stability, improved electricity supply, and reconstruction activity following the devastating earthquakes in 2015. Additional policies are needed to continue to support inclusive growth, while safeguarding macroeconomic and financial stability. Fiscal policy should remain prudent, and the transition to fiscal federalism carefully managed. Macroprudential measures should remain in place to limit the build-up of financial sector risk. Recent reforms to boost foreign investment need a supportive implementation environment. Strengthening the implementation of monetary policy requires a well-functioning interest rate framework that reduces volatility in short-term interest rates. Less short-term interest rate volatility would support financial market development and improve policy signaling and transmission. The IMF staff emphasizes the need to introduce a standing deposit facility as a first step toward establishing a reliable implementation track record for the interest rate corridor.