International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This Joint Staff Advisory Note on the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper discusses that Somalia has made noteworthy progress since 2012 to recover from decades of conflict and state fragmentation. The country has succeeded in rebuilding core state capabilities and organized two democratic national elections in 2012 and 2017. Somalia has now reached the stage where it seeks to fully reengage the international community and is requesting debt relief through the heavily indebted poor countries initiative. The authorities developed the Ninth National Development Plan (NPD9) through a highly consultative, participatory process that ensured full country ownership. The macroeconomic policy objectives of NDP9 are to promote economic growth in an environment of low inflation, sustainable fiscal and current account balances, and healthy foreign exchange reserves. The IMF staff recommends updating framework to incorporate greater support for poverty reduction and additional financing from development partners during the interim period. The IMF staff supports the authorities’ commitment to issuing new Somali shilling banknotes, while maintaining de facto dollarization.
This Selected Issues paper focuses on macro-critical issues related to governance and corruption in Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Third-party indicators suggest that governance has been poor and corruption widespread in the country. Conducting an audit of the civil service and improving the transparency of its remuneration system, simplifying tax payment processes, and merging the activities of the numerous revenue agencies would boost public efficiency and improve the business environment. Contract enforcement and protection of property rights could be enhanced by insulating the courts from external influence. Limited information on the budget annexes and special accounts and little or no oversight by the central government, Parliament, and civil society, create scope for corruption. The multiplicity of special taxes and fees, some accruing to special accounts outside the Treasury, generate opportunities for corruption and informalization of economic activity. Despite some progress in strengthening public financial management, budget execution remains deficient. The government has formalized the four stages of the expenditure chain and introduced budget commitment plans to align expenditures with revenues.
This Selected Issues paper reviews West African Economic and Monetary Union’s (WAEMU) regional macroeconomic surveillance framework to control all sources of debt accumulation and ensure debt sustainability. WAEMU’s regional surveillance framework aims at ensuring the sustainability of national fiscal policies and their consistency with the common monetary policy. While fiscal deficits have been the main driver of public debt across WAEMU member countries, the size of residual factors has varied greatly among these countries. The WAEMU Macroeconomic Surveillance Framework would benefit from adjustments to more effectively set the region’s public debt on a sustainable path. In addition, beyond adhering to the WAEMU fiscal deficit rule, member countries must curb below-the-budget-line operations. This would require improved monitoring of fiscal risks and the building of adequate budget provisions to address such risks before they materialize. Improved Treasury practices would also help eliminate the recourse to pre-financing arrangements and tighten control over expenditure. Public dissemination of the WAEMU progress report and strengthened peer-to-peer learning among member countries could improve the momentum for reforms.
This Selected Issues paper on Kosovo discusses various challenges and opportunities in the public infrastructure domain. Given the very low initial stocks, largely due to the sharp depletion of capital stock during the conflicts in the 1990s, higher investment rates are needed. The resources available from international development partners, including the European Union (EU), the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, are a unique opportunity to leverage and accelerate the implementation of priority projects. Strengthening Kosovo’s investment framework is key to achieving this objective. Kosovo faces significant public infrastructure gaps, which constrain private sector development. Scaling-up public investment will raise gross domestic product growth potential and accelerate income convergence toward the EU average level. The priority project list has helped the authorities to prioritize plans and facilitate the discussions and negotiations with donors and International Financial Institutions (IFI). However, implementation so far has been modest, despite the new investment clause of the fiscal rule exempting IFI-financed projects from the deficit ceiling.
This Selected Issues paper reviews the evolution of inequality in Ethiopia and discusses the role of various macroeconomic policies as well as structural factors. With a Gini coefficient of 30, Ethiopia remains among the most egalitarian countries in the world. The most vulnerable households seem to experience less benefit from growth than those in the higher income deciles. In terms of tax revenue collection, Ethiopia faces the typical challenges of a developing country. It is required that Ethiopia builds on its successful experience with the Productive Safety Net Program to address the growing needs of the urban poor.