The staff report for the Second Review Under the Stand-By Arrangement (SBA) on the Republic of Croatia highlights fiscal policy and monetary and financial sector policies. The policy implementation under this SBA has yielded sizable fiscal consolidation and advances in structural reforms, despite some snags. The authorities have taken a number of measures to discourage external borrowing, address foreign currency-related credit risk, and strengthen supervision. The health reform aims at improving the financial situation in the sector and rationalizing public spending on health.
The extraordinary nature of the HIV/AIDS epidemic requires exceptional measures. What these measures should be, however, remains a subject of ongoing debate. The general consensus is that massive resources are needed, but sharply higher funding may complicate macroeconomic and fiscal management in hard-hit countries.
In Italy, health care budget ceilings are not effective. The poor control by the central government results in excessive use of expensive inputs, in long waiting lines for medical procedures, and in the emergence of large arrears to suppliers and commercial banks. To fully gain the benefits of its decentralized structure, Italy needs to clarify the rules of the game and strengthen controls on local health authorities. Full fiscal responsibility should be extended to local governments on both the expenditure and revenue sides. The central government should be involved neither in decisions on the services that local governments should supply, nor in their planning and management.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
This paper highlights that despite severe limitations of resources, developing countries have made substantial progress during the past three decades in sending more children to school and in generally improving their education systems. Enrollment of children in schools at all levels has expanded at unprecedented rates. There has been a significant decline in the proportion of adults who are illiterate—from 44 percent in 1950 to 32 percent in 1975. Public expenditures for education have increased steadily in developing countries to reach roughly the same share of national product as in industrialized countries.