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Cataloging-In-Publication Data

Fiscal management of scaled-up aid / Sanjeev Gupta … [et al.] — Washington, DC: International Monetary Fund, 2008.

  • p. cm.

  • Includes bibliographical references.

  • ISBN 978-1-58906-703-5

1. Economic assistance — Developing countries. 2. Fiscal policy — Developing countries. 3. Developing countries — Economic policy. 4. Developing countries — Economic conditions. I. Gupta, Sanjeev. II. International Monetary Fund.

HC60.F573 2008

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Contents

  • Abbreviations

  • Preface

  • Acknowledgments

  • 1 Introduction

  • 2 Establishing a Medium-Term Resource Envelope

  • 3 Choosing an Expenditure Path

    • Time Profile of Aid

    • Absorptive Capacity Constraints

    • Spending and Debt Sustainability

    • Spending and Growth

    • Spending Efficiency

    • Expenditure Path and Fiscal Targets

    • Updating Baseline and Alternative Scenarios

  • 4 Dealing with Aid Uncertainty and Volatility

  • 5 Strengthening Institutions to Promote Effective Utilization of Aid

    • Weaknesses of Existing Public Financial Management (PFM) Systems in Low-Income Countries

    • Overall Strategic Planning

    • Developing a Medium-Term Approach to Budgeting

    • Strengthening Budget Execution and Reporting

    • Integrating Donor Aid in the Budget Process

    • Strengthening PFM Systems, Including Their Capacity to Track Poverty-Reducing Spending

    • Formulating and Implementing PFM Action Plans

    • The Role of Technical Assistance in Supporting the Reform Process

  • 6 Conclusions

  • Appendixes

  • 1. Country Experiences with Scaled-Up Aid

  • 2. Expenditure Efficiency—An Empirical Assessment

  • References

  • Boxes

    • 1. Choosing an Expenditure Path When the Resource Envelope Is Expanding

    • 2. Fiscal Targets in IMF-Supported Programs

    • 3. Strengthening Public Financial Management in Postconflict and Disaster-Affected Countries

    • 4. Current Medium-Term Fiscal Planning Practices

    • 5. Short-Term Priorities for Public Financial Management Reform

    • 6. Illustrative Expenditure Tracking Mechanism

    • 7. Role of Donors in Promoting Effective Public Financial Management Reform

  • Figures

    • 1. HIPC-AAP: PFM Performance by Key Categories

    • 2. Fiscal ROSC Assessments, 1999–2005

    • 3. PEFA Assessments Undertaken During 2005–06

    • 4. CPIA: Quality of Partner Country PFM Systems in 2005

    • A1.1. Event Study: Aid Flows After an Aid Spurt

    • A1.2. Aid Volatility and Fiscal Institutional Quality

    • A1.3. Changes in Current Spending and Institutional Quality

    • A1.4. Changes in Capital Spending and Institutional Quality

  • Tables

    • 1. Illustrative Platforms for Strengthening Budget Formulation in a Typical Low-Income Country

    • A1.1. Aid and Revenue, 1990–2004

    • A1.2. Total Aid, Loans, and Grants

    • A1.3. Selected Regression Results

    • A2.1. Countries Included in the Efficiency Analysis

    • A2.2. Spending and Outcome Indicators for the Efficiency Analysis

    • A2.3. Percent of Countries in Top Half of the Efficiency Distributions for Health by Income Level

    • A2.4. Percent of Countries in Top Half of the Efficiency Distribution for Education by Income Level

    • A2.5. Control Variables

    • A2.6. Correlation Matrix of Relative Efficiency Scores and Control Variables

    • A2.7. Truncated Regressions of Expenditure Efficiency Scores

Abbreviations

CPAR

Country Procurement Assessment Report

CPIA

Country Policy and Institutional Assessment

DAC

Development Assistance Committee

DEA

Data Envelopment Analysis

DfID

Department for International Development (U.K.)

DSA

Debt Sustainability Analysis

G-8

Group of Eight

GDDS

General Data Dissemination System

GFSM 2001

Government Finance Statistics Manual 2001

HIPC

Heavily Indebted Poor Countries

ICPR

International Development Agency Country Performance Rating

MDG

Millennium Development Goal

MTBF

Medium-term budget framework

MTDS

Medium-Term Debt Strategy

MTEF

Medium-term expenditure framework

MTF

Medium-term framework

MTFF

Medium-term fiscal framework

NDP

National Development Plan

ODA

Official development assistance

OECD

Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development

PEFA

Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability

PETS

Public Expenditure Tracking Surveys

PFM

Public financial management

PPP

Purchasing power parity

PRGF

Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility

PRSP

Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper

ROSC

Report on the Observance of Standards and Codes

VAT

Value-added tax

WAEMU

West African Economic and Monetary Union

WEO

World Economic Outlook

WHO

World Health Organization

Preface

There is a renewed commitment by the international community to increase aid significantly to help low-income countries meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The Monterrey Consensus of 2002 called for increased and more effective aid for low-income countries. This was followed up by the commitment of the Group of Eight (G-8) countries at the Gleneagles Summit in 2005 to double aid to sub-Saharan Africa by 2010. There has also been a substantial increase in aid to low-income countries from other “emerging donors” as well as from nonofficial sources.

Prospects of scaled-up aid present low-income countries with both opportunities and challenges. More aid provides additional “fiscal space,” thereby offering these countries a unique opportunity to increase spending to accelerate progress toward the MDGs. Yet managing additional aid resources also poses significant challenges for macroeconomic management, including from the uncertainty and volatility surrounding aid disbursements and the impact of scaled-up aid on macroeconomic stability and debt sustainability.

The IMF aims to help countries fully spend and absorb all aid, provided that macroeconomic stability is not compromised and that the aid can be used effectively. Fiscal policy, in combination with monetary and exchange rate policy, is critical in determining how much of the aid is spent and absorbed. Low-income countries also need assistance in putting in place the economic and fiscal institutions that will permit them to absorb the scaled-up aid in a sustainable manner.

This paper discusses the role of fiscal policy in managing scaled-up aid. Accelerating progress toward the MDGs will require both more spending and more efficient spending in order to generate the desired social and economic outcomes. Scaled-up aid relaxes the budget constraint in aid recipient countries but does not eliminate it. Thus governments must choose a time path for revenue and expenditure policies that maximizes society’s welfare, subject to the constraint that spending cannot exceed available resources. A first step in this direction is to determine the overall resource envelope over the medium term. A given resource envelope, however, is consistent with an array of alternative medium-term spending paths. Therefore, choosing an appropriate medium-term spending path that is consistent with capacity constraints, macroeconomic stability, and fiscal sustainability is a critical issue in managing scaled-up aid flows. At the same time, more spending will only translate into progress toward the MDGs and other desired outcomes if spending is done efficiently. Much of this relates to strengthening planning, prioritization, and implementation on the basis of better institutions, in particular, public financial management systems. Another issue of particular importance in the context of scaled-up aid is how to deal with aid volatility and uncertainty. This paper attempts to provide operational guidance in addressing these issues.

Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank Taimur Baig, Lynn MacFarlane, Sailendra Pattanayak, Alejandro Simone, and Justin Tyson for their contributions. Larry Cui, Victoria Gunnarson, and Juan Francisco Yepez provided invaluable research assistance. Helpful comments and suggestions received from IMF colleagues are also gratefully acknowledged. Special thanks are also due to Merceditas San Pedro-Pribram and Alicia Etchebarne-Bourdin, who prepared the document for publication. Any remaining errors are the sole responsibility of the authors. Rebecca Obstler of the External Relations Department coordinated the production of the publication.

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