This paper reviews forestry reform in the Congo basin, focusing on Gabon. It argues that the key challenge for the Congo basin countries is to manage their forests in a sustainable manner. It presents the current situation of forestry taxation and forestry reform in Gabon. The paper analyzes optimal taxation in the forestry sector using a static model. The model works from the proposition that tax policy should be used exclusively for revenue purposes and resource preservation should be achieved mainly through legislation and enforcement. It argues that when prices are uncertain the best practice is to tax only profits.
Countries generally tax the forestry sector to achieve the twin objectives of revenue maximization and sustainability of logging levels. In an ideal world of perfect markets and information, auctions would be the best instrument to determine the price of extraction rights. However, a number of factors-including a lack of information on the forest resources under consideration, uncertainties as to the stability of property rights over time, and a lack of access to credit-have limited the use of auctions so far, particularly in low-income countries. To establish transparency of the forestry sector's financial flows, this paper discusses a radical simplification of Liberia's current timber tax structure, including a proposal to reduce the sector's current tax system to two instruments, an area tax and an export tax.
This Selected Issues and Statistical Appendix paper examines recent economic developments and medium-term outlook for Liberia. This paper focuses on economic developments during 2003 and 2004 and the medium-term challenges of reconstruction. The paper explores the pros and cons of adopting full (de jure) dollarization in Liberia. It reviews the theoretical arguments for and against adopting dollarization and the associated empirical evidence. The choices of monetary and exchange rate regimes made by other post-conflict countries are presented. The paper also assesses whether Liberia, in its current post-conflict situation, could benefit from dollarization.
This Selected Issues and Statistical Appendix paper on Gabon reviews management of oil revenues, competitiveness, and growth. The nature of Gabon’s problems has not changed during the past 15 years. The need to diversify the economy and the export base; control fiscal expenditure and the wage bill; carefully assess capital expenditure; and reform public sector enterprises are the challenges that the Gabonese need to be prepared to implement adequately. Gabon faces huge medium-term fiscal constraints imposed by the expected steady decline in oil production and its depletion.
Ms. Ling H Tan, Ms. Kala Krishna, and Mr. Ram Ranjan
This paper models investment/entry decisions in a competitive industry that is subject to a quantity control on an input for production. The quantity control is implemented by auctioning licenses for the restricted input (e.g., a pollution permit or a production license). The paper shows that liberalizing the quantity control could reduce investment in the industry under certain circumstances. Furthermore, the level of investment is quite different when licenses are tradable than when they are not. Key factors in the comparison include the elasticity of demand for the final good and the degree of input substitutability. Two examples are computed to illustrate the results.
Mr. Nalin M. Kishor, Mr. Muthukumara Mani, and Mr. Luis F. Constantino
An increasing number of tropical timber producing nations have enacted bans on export of logs. Proponents argue that a log export ban is a second-best policy tool for addressing environmental externalities; it also creates more jobs and improves scale efficiencies domestically. Theoretical arguments suggest that log export bans are largely incapable of achieving their objectives. However, little quantitative evidence exists. The authors maintain that eliminating log export bans in Costa Rica could generate economic gains as high as $14 million annually in addition to the environmental benefits.
This paper describes economic developments in Guinea–Bissau during the 1990s. Following mixed economic performance in 1991–92, a period of financial stabilization in 1993–94 led to an economic program that was supported by a three-year annual arrangement under the Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility approved in January 1995. After some difficulties in early 1995, the program objectives for budgetary revenue, the external account, and real growth rate were surpassed. Economic developments were generally favorable in 1996 and 1997 although inflation continued to be a source of concern until mid-1997.
This Recent Economic Developments and Selected Economic Issues paper provides a broad overview of the structure of Namibia’s economy. It provides a detailed discussion of the structure and evolution of the productive base, recent trends in investment and savings performance, fiscal policies, monetary issues and policies, and external sector developments. The paper provides an assessment of Namibia’s export performance and prospects for the future. The paper highlights that since independence in 1990, Namibia’s real GDP has expanded at an annual compound rate of 3.8 percent, or 0.9 percent in per capita terms.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
This paper highlights the sources of payments problems in less developed countries. Growth in the industrial countries has a direct impact on the current account of the developing countries through its influence on both the prices and volumes of their exports. An increase in the real effective exchange rate is clearly a fundamental determinant of a deteriorating current account since, other things being equal, it tends to raise domestic demand for imports and to reduce foreign demand for exports.
OVER THE PAST FEW YEARS, the member countries of the European Economic Community (EEC) have elaborated a common agricultural policy (CAP), as expressly provided for in the Treaty of Rome, which went into effect on January 1, 1958. This task has proven to be much more difficult than the creation of a common market for industrial goods, because the existing agricultural policies of the member countries, designed largely to protect farm incomes, were so divergent. The long series of negotiations to achieve a common agricultural policy were begun about eight years ago, and, after various crises and round-the-clock sessions, they have now been virtually completed. The CAP becomes fully operative in July 1968.