The changing political landscape in the Arab world has created opportunities for economic transformation by tackling long-standing economic issues. Nevertheless, three years after the onset of political transition, implementing necessary economic policies has proven to be challenging. This paper lays out key elements of economic policy reform for Arab countries in transition.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
The September 2008 issue examines key issues facing low-income countries, including how they should respond to high oil and food prices. Some African economies are now successfully attracting international investors and are seen as a new tier of "frontier" emerging markets. Separate articles look at problems of aid effectiveness, aid predictability, and aid fragmentation. Other articles include an account by Eswar S. Prasad and Raghuram G. Rajan of their new report on financial sector reforms in India; Martin Ravallion and Dominique van de Walle draw lessons on reducing poverty from Vietnam's agrarian reforms; Sanjeev Gupta and Shamsuddin Tareq make a strong case for sub-Saharan countries to mobilize their domestic revenue bases. In addition, Simon Willson profiles Beatrice Weder di Mauro, the first woman on Germany's Council of Economic Experts; and the outgoing IMF Chief Economic Simon Johnson talks about the new drivers of global growth-emerging markets.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
Iraq is an oil-dependent and state-dominated fragile economy that has been
hit hard by the conflict with ISIS and the fall in oil prices. The conflict has hurt the
economy through displacement and impoverishment of millions of people, and
destruction of infrastructure and assets. The oil price decline has resulted in a massive
reduction in budget revenue, pushing the fiscal deficit to an unsustainable level. The
authorities are responding to the crisis with ambitious but necessary fiscal adjustment
while maintaining their commitment to the exchange rate peg, which provides a key
nominal anchor in a highly uncertain environment.
Mario Mansour, Ms. Pritha Mitra, Mr. Carlo A Sdralevich, and Mr. Andrew Jewell
Fairness – and what governments can do about it – is at the forefront of economic and social debate all over the world. In MENA, this has been at the core of recent political transitions but has not been adequately addressed. This SDN explores how tax systems – a critical interface between the state and citizens – can play a role in meeting demands for greater economic fairness in MENA countries. The SDN finds that for countries with well-established non-hydrocarbon tax systems (mostly oil importers) reforms should focus on simplifying tax structures and introducing more progressivity of personal income taxes, broadening tax bases, and better designing and enforcing property taxes. Tax administration should be more efficient and user-friendly while simplifying tax regimes will reduce the scope for arbitrary implementation. MENA countries with less established non-hydrocarbon revenue systems can begin with a “starter pack” that includes introduction of low-rate value-added and corporate income taxes, excises, and property taxes while building up administrative capacity and taxation expertise together with plans for introducing a personal income tax. Across the region, effective communication, transparency, and constructive dialogue between the State and citizens are critical to the success of reforms.
Discusses important tax policy issues facing developing countries today, provides a review of the role of tax incentives, and identifies some policy challenges posed by the globalization of the world economy. Draws on country cases.