The coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, which has hit financial systems across Africa, is likely to deteriorate banks’ balance sheets. The largest threat to banks pertains to their loan portfolios, since many borrowers have faced a sharp collapse in their income, and therefore have difficulty repaying their obligations as they come due. This could lead to a sharp increase in nonperforming loans (NPLs) in the short to medium term.
This note outlines the interest of Revenue Administrations (RAs) and National Statistical Offices (NSOs) in the quality of data at their disposal, and how collaboration between these organizations can contribute to improving data quality. The similarities between the data collection and processing steps in revenue administration and in the production of economic statistics underlie meaningful information and data sharing. Mutually beneficial collaboration between RAs and NSOs can be achieved, particularly in efforts to improve the coverage of registers and to update register information; classify economic activity; and analyze joint data to address data shortcomings. Since there are differences in concepts and definitions used in revenue administration and official statistics, dialogue is necessary to ensure the effective use of data from the partner organization. Collaboration can improve the quality of data available to both institutions: for RAs, this can assist in realizing improved taxpayer compliance and revenue mobilization, and for NSOs, tax-administrative data sources may enable expanded coverage of the economy in official statistics and reduce timeframes required for publishing economic time series and national accounts. Together, these outcomes can enhance the policy formulation, planning, and service delivery capability of governments. To that end, this note delineates concrete steps to engender sustainable and meaningful interchange of information and data between the RA and NSO.
Mario Pessoa, Andrew Okello, Artur Swistak, Muyangwa Muyangwa, Virginia Alonso-Albarran, and Vincent de Paul Koukpaizan
The value-added tax (VAT) has the potential to generate significant government revenue. Despite its intrinsic self-enforcement capacity, many tax administrations find it challenging to refund excess input credits, which is critical to a well-functioning VAT system. Improperly functioning VAT refund practices can have profound implications for fiscal policy and management, including inaccurate deficit measurement, spending overruns, poor budget credibility, impaired treasury operations, and arrears accumulation.This note addresses the following issues: (1) What are VAT refunds and why should they be managed properly? (2) What practices should be put in place (in tax policy, tax administration, budget and treasury management, debt, and fiscal statistics) to help manage key aspects of VAT refunds? For a refund mechanism to be credible, the tax administration must ensure that it is equipped with the strategies, processes, and abilities needed to identify VAT refund fraud. It must also be prepared to act quickly to combat such fraud/schemes.
A well-designed regional tax treaty to which developing countries are signatories will include provisions securing minimum withholding taxes on investment income and technical service fees, a taxing right in respect of capital gains from indirect offshore transfers, and guarding against-treaty shopping. A tax treaty policy framework—national or regional—that specifies the main policy outcomes to be achieved before negotiations commence would enable developing countries with more limited expertise and lower capacity for tax treaty negotiations to avoid concluding problematic tax treaties. This note provides guidance for members of regional economic communities in the developing world on what should and should not be included in a regional tax treaty and how to design on a common tax treaty policy framework for use in negotiations of bilateral tax treaties with nonmembers.
Olivier Basdevant, John Hooley, and Eslem Imamoglu
This guidance note describes how to use the Excel-based template developed by the Fiscal Affairs Department (FAD) of the IMF accompanying the note “How to Design a Fiscal Strategy in a Resource-Rich Country.” This template uses data inputs to generate simulations of fiscal policy dynamics. It helps IMF teams and country authorities in RRCs analyze trade-offs associated with alternative fiscal strategies for the use of public resource wealth. Visualizing these trade-offs and assessing their sensitivity to underlying macroeconomic assumptions can help inform policymakers on the most appropriate fiscal strategy, given country-specific circumstances.
Olivier Basdevant, John Hooley, and Eslem Imamoglu
This How to Note provides operational guidance for policymakers and IMF staff teams on designing—or revising—a fiscal strategy in resource-rich countries (RRC). Properly managed, resource revenue can support fiscal sustainability and development and equity objectives. Resource revenues also create significant stabilization challenges for fiscal policy because of their size, uncertainty, volatility, and finite nature. The guidance in this note is intended to be general and applicable to RRCs with a range of income levels, resource endowments, and macroeconomic contexts. It is designed primarily to help policymakers analyze the trade-offs associated with alternative fiscal paths and select the right fiscal strategy, given country-specific circumstances.
Well-developed cash management aims to improve government operational efficiency and facilitates better service delivery by ensuring liquidity to meet payment obligations as they fall due. Liquidity, however, comes at a cost. Governments can reduce the cost of maintaining liquidity by proactively managing their cash balance at an appropriate level and prudently investing any excess liquidity. This note discusses the policy framework and processes that governments should put in place to identify, guide, and govern the investment of their surplus cash resources.
Maintaining a cash buffer has emerged as a risk management tool for government cash and debt management. During budget execution, there is considerable cash flow volatility and timing mismatches concerning revenue collections and expenditures, debt inflows, and debt service. Cash balance management aims to address these mismatches and to ensure availability of liquidity in government bank accounts. From a debt management perspective, holding an appropriate level of cash balance serves to mitigate funding risk. Effective cash balance management is even more critical when there is heightened uncertainty about the magnitude and timing of cash flows, as seen during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. This note discusses the role of the cash buffer for managing cash balances and offers practical approaches to developing a policy framework, considering the risk mitigation objectives and the cost of carry.