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.
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.
Weicheng Lian, Fei Liu, Katsiaryna Svirydzenka, and Biying Zhu
While South Asia has gone a long way in diversifying their economies, there is substantial scope to do more. Some countries – India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka – can build on their existing production capabilities; others – Bangladesh, Bhutan, and the Maldives – would need to undertake a more concerted push. We identify key policies from a large set of potential determinants that explain the variation in export diversification and complexity across 189 countries from 1962 to 2018. Our analysis suggests that South Asia needs to invest in infrastructure, education, and R&D, facilitate bank credit to productive companies, and open to trade in order to diversify and move up the value chains. Given the COVID-19 pandemic, investing in digital technologies as part of the infrastructure push and improving education are of even greater importance to facilitate the ability to work remotely and assist resource reallocation away from the less viable sectors.
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.