This Article IV Consultation focuses on San Marino’s prolonged recession. The global crisis has led to a significant decline in budget revenues. However, San Marino’s sizable pre-2008 budget surplus, combined with recent tax measures and efforts to restrain expenditures, have helped contain the deficit at about 3 percent of GDP. Executive Directors noted that San Marino’s economy will face financial and fiscal challenges in the near term, as well as uncertain medium-term prospects. Directors considered that, notwithstanding the recent recapitalization, the largest bank will need more capital to meet prudential requirements.
This 2012 Article IV Consultation highlights that rising unemployment, stagnant wage growth, and lower confidence have all contributed to falling private consumption and low inflation in San Marino. Financial sector balance sheets have continued to compress on the back of steady outflows of deposits. Directors have welcomed the measures taken to contain the 2012 budget deficit but called for a comprehensive medium-term consolidation plan, given growing fiscal risks. Directors have also stressed the need for a deficit-financing plan, which could involve issuing debt instruments on capital markets.
Conventional wisdom postulates that there are benefits from decentralizing government finances but there is little empirical evidence about actual country practices. This paper presents data on fiscal decentralization for about 80 countries over a period of about 20 years (1990-2008) from the IMF’s Government Finance Statistics Yearbook (GFSY), the only global database with fiscal data for several levels of government. The data show that in many countries, revenue collection remains relatively more centralized than expenditures and that employment tends to be concentrated in lower levels of government. Except for transition economies, the levels of decentralization are relatively stable over the time period. The findings are shown by degree of economic development, constitutional power arrangements, and geographic area, broadly confirming key factors identified in the literature as determining the extent of fiscal decentralization.
In this study, the economic development and growth of San Marino are discussed. For liquidity management, the Central Bank of San Marino was commended. Different measures have been taken to enhance the operational autonomy of the Central Bank of San Marino (CBSM), buttress supervisory functions, and strengthen Antimoney Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT). The goals to reduce the fiscal deficit are encouraged, but counseled that the credibility of fiscal plans would be enhanced by a better-articulated strategy. Cuts in public sector employment through attrition and reforms could be the key elements of this strategy.
This paper examines the development of the business model thus far and considers options for the future. The development of San Marino’s financial system over the past two decades is outlined. San Marino’s financial sector focuses on services to its residents and the residents of its large neighbor. San Marino’s competitiveness is assessed on the basis of real exchange rates. The importance of a strong relationship with Italy may also require San Marino to take more initiatives to amend its position and acquire new skills.
The level of domestically generated proceeds of serious crime in San Marino is low. However, San Marino is vulnerable to money laundering (ML) of proceeds of crimes committed abroad. The Sammarinese financial sector, until recently, was characterized by a number of features that have created a favorable environment to ML. San Marino has made considerable progress in bringing its legal and institutional framework in line with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recommendations. Banks and financial institutions have started implementing the new Antimoney Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) requirements, with mixed results.
Stress tests indicate that the main vulnerabilities of the banking sector of San Marino relate to deposit outflows or to a deterioration of credit quality, and these risks are particularly high for the largest bank. There is no effective mechanism to provide liquidity to banks. The nonbank financial sector in San Marino consists of just over 50 small companies, but has growth potential. The governing body of the Central Bank of San Marino (CBSM) should be subject to clearer and stronger accountability, and be more independent from the government.