The authorities have reacted to the COVID-19 crisis in an appropriate manner, including through increased spending on health and a rollout of the vaccination program. Nevertheless, the deterioration of socio-economic indicators during the pandemic could create scars that would significantly lower growth if left unaddressed.
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.
This paper examines the institutional arrangements of the macro-fiscal function in 16 African countries. Most ministries of finance (MoFs) have established a macro-fiscal department or unit, but their functions, size, structure and outputs vary considerably. Based on a survey, we present data on staff size, functional scope and the forecasting performance of macro-fiscal departments and identify common challenges in the countries reviewed. Some MoFs perform many macro-fiscal functions, but actions of various kinds are needed to strengthen their macro-fiscal departments. This paper provides some guidance for policy-makers in the region for enhancing the quality and scope of macro-fiscal outputs.
This paper analyzes Uganda’s Request for Disbursement Under the Rapid Credit Facility. The Ugandan economy is severely affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. In order to contain the impact of the pandemic, the authorities have increased health spending, strengthened social protection to the most vulnerable, and enhanced their support to the private sector. The Bank of Uganda has appropriately reduced interest rates and provided liquidity to safeguard financial stability, while maintaining exchange rate flexibility. The weakening economic conditions emanating from the Covid-19 pandemic have put significant pressures on revenue collection, expenditure, reserves and the exchange rate, creating urgent large external and fiscal financing needs. The IMF continues to monitor Uganda’s situation closely and stands ready to provide policy advice and further support as needed. The authorities have also committed to put in place targeted transparency and accountability measures to ensure the appropriate use of emergency financing. The IMF’s emergency financial support under the RCF, along with the additional donor financing it is expected to help catalyze, will help address Uganda’s urgent balance of payments and budget support needs.
This Fiscal Transparency Evaluation (FTE) assesses the quality of fiscal reporting in Kenya against the principles set out in the Fiscal Transparency Code. Kenya has experienced a lot of structural and economic changes since 2014. One of the key objectives of this FTE is to estimate Kenya’s balance sheet, and to cover as many as possible of the entities in the public sector. The coverage of Kenya’s reporting of fiscal statistics has improved considerably. The report discusses that Kenya continues to perform well in the overall transparency of its fiscal forecasting and budgeting practices (Pillar II of the Code), which is based on a strong legal framework. It does so against a backdrop of significant ongoing reforms, including far-reaching fiscal devolution to counties, and the introduction of performance-based budgeting. A recent important change in the law is expected to synchronize the submission and approval of the government’s spending proposals and the tax measures in the Finance Bill. The recommendations set out under each of the pillars of this report aim to address several challenges. The report also encourages the authorities to continue with the implementation of the recommendations set out in the 2014 report, on which good or satisfactory progress has been made in about half the cases.
This Technical Assistance report on the Uganda focuses on strengthening the performance of public investment management – next phase. Significant progress has been achieved since 2015 in strengthening public investment management, with the reforms showing first results. New procedures need to be designed to refresh project information and assess the status of ongoing projects. With better information, a robust prioritization process of ongoing and new projects within the medium-term envelope should be implemented. Discussions with Ministries, Departments and Agencies, and the mission’s analysis of the upgraded project data identified inconsistencies between projects’ planned use of resources, approved project budgets and the medium-term resource envelope. Reliable and updated information on project forward estimates and commitments like signed contracts and certificates of work is fundamental for ensuring sufficient and timely funding of projects. Recent strengthening of Public Investment Management processes has been accomplished with limited changes to the legal framework.
This Selected Issues paper investigates state-owned financial institutions’ (SOFIs) performance in developing economies. It focuses on Sub-Saharan Africa, zooming in on the Togolese experience with SOFIs and privatization, at a time when the Togolese government has decided to further disengage from the financial sector. Typically set up with a public interest and financial inclusion mandate, SOFIs tend to weaken financial stability and fiscal discipline in developing economies, especially if they are not typically regulated and supervised on the same basis as other banks. Togo’s and cross-country experiences suggest that performance improves more after privatization when the government fully relinquishes control, when banks are privatized to strategic investors rather than through share issues, and when bidding is open to all, including foreign banks. The success of privatization also hinges on the business environment for competition, governance, and entry, on banks’ valuation and how policy concerns are dealt with, as well as on owner’s prudential review quality.