The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
The following hypothesis was set and tested by this study: is the conventional budget balance, as generally accepted and used, still relevant for South Africa? The paper found that several possible alternatives are available but each must be viewed from the standpoint of their applicability to the South African context. Several were not suitable for South Africa-only because of a serious lack of available data needed to make them operational. The paper also highlights the need for reforms in government financial information in South Africa.