Middle East and Central Asia > Saudi Arabia

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Mr. Matthieu Bellon
We examine the role of market characteristics and timing in explaining observed heterogeneity in VAT pass-through. We first extend existing theory to characterize the roles of imperfect competition and product differentiation, then investigate these relationships empirically using a panel of 14 Eurozone countries between 1999 and 2013. We find important roles for product market regulation and product quality, and little impact of advance announcement of reforms. Our findings have important implications for policy-makers considering VAT rate adjustments, by illuminating which of the consumers or the producers would experience the brunt of a reform across different settings.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
Selected Issues
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This Selected Issues paper explores policies to drive diversification for Saudi Arabia. Diversification is needed to create jobs for Saudis and to mitigate the impact of uncertainty in oil markets. Although the business climate should be improved, and remaining infrastructure gaps addressed, reforms need to go beyond these areas. Diversification in Saudi Arabia that creates jobs for nationals could be held back by the effects of relatively high wages and their impact on cost competitiveness. Creative solutions are needed to address the impact of high government wages and employment on competitiveness. Industrial policy could help overcome the incentives that encourage companies to focus on the nontradable sector, but should be handled carefully, keeping lessons from other countries’ experiences in mind. Export orientation and competition are crucial mechanisms to ensure discipline. Strengthening human capital to raise productivity and provide workers with the skills needed in the private sector will be essential to success.
International Monetary Fund. Fiscal Affairs Dept.

Abstract

Despite progress in addressing key fiscal weaknesses in many countries, significant policy challenges remain in advanced, emerging, and low-income economies, and must be faced in an environment where downside risks to growth have increased. Many advanced economies face very large adjustment needs to reduce risks related to high debt ratios. The appropriate pace of adjustment in the short run will depend, for each country, on the intensity of the market pressure it confronts, the magnitude of the risks to growth it faces, and the credibility of its medium-term program. The euro area needs to sustain fiscal consolidation, minimize its growth fallout, and address concerns about the adequacy of crisis resolution mechanisms. In Japan and the United States, sufficiently detailed and ambitious plans to reduce deficits and debts are needed to prevent credibility from weakening. Meanwhile, many emerging economies need to make faster progress in strengthening fiscal fundamentals before cyclical factors or spillovers from advanced economies turn against them. Low-income countries also need to rebuild fiscal buffers, while addressing spending needs.

Mr. Philip R. Gerson and Mr. Manmohan S. Kumar

Abstract

With increasing fiscal challenges in the aftermath of the global financial crisis, multilateral surveillance of fiscal developments, a key part of the IMF's surveillance responsibilities, has gained further importance. In response, the Fiscal Monitor was launched in 2009 to survey and analyze the latest public finance developments, update fiscal implications of the crisis and medium-term fiscal projections, and assess policies to put public finances on a sustainable footing. The Fiscal Monitor is prepared twice a year by the IMF's Fiscal Affairs Department. The Monitor's projections are based on the same database used for the October 2010 World Economic Outlook (WEO) and Global Financial Stability Report.

International Monetary Fund
In recent years, the IMF has released a growing number of reports and other documents covering economic and financial developments and trends in member countries. Each report, prepared by a staff team after discussions with government officials, is published at the option of the member country.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
This paper highlights that the first quarter of 1981 was marked by a number of notable accomplishments in meeting the challenges currently facing the IMF. In addition to the completion of the final loan disbursements from the Trust Fund, the simplification of the SDR basket, and the decision to continue enlarged access to the IMF’s resources, the IMF reached agreement in principle with Saudi Arabia on a quota increase and on an arrangement to borrow resources to permit the IMF to continue its lending operations without interruption and for the smooth functioning of the recycling process.