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Mr. Bernardin Akitoby, Mr. Jiro Honda, and Keyra Primus
Raising revenues has been a formidable challenge for fragile and conflict-affected states (FCS), a fact confirmed once again in the COVID-19 crisis. Nonetheless, achieving sizable gains in tax collection in fragile environments is not impossible. This paper—with empirical analyses and case studies—contributes to policy discussions on tax reform in such challenging environments. Our analyses show that many FCS achieved some recovery of tax revenues, even though they found it challenging to sustain the momentum beyond three years. We also find that changes in the quality of institutions (e.g., government effectiveness and control of corruption) are a key contributory factor to their tax performance (much more so than for non-FCS). Next, we look into the tax increase episodes of four countries (Liberia, Malawi, Nepal, and the Solomon Islands). Although each FCS is unique, their experiences suggest two lessons: (i) tax reforms can be pursued even with initially weak institutions; and (ii) strong political commitment is important to sustain reform efforts and realize long-lasting, sizable gains.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This paper presents Nepal’s Request for Disbursement Under the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF). The coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic is having a severe impact on Nepal’s economy. During recent months, remittances have fallen considerably, tourist arrivals collapsed, and domestic activity has taken a hit amid social distancing measures. The authorities are taking proactive, well-targeted measures to address the human and economic impact of the pandemic, while preserving macroeconomic stability. Such measures include increasing health spending, strengthening social assistance to protect the most vulnerable, and providing bank liquidity and credit support. Additional assistance from development partners, beyond what had already been committed before the outbreak of the pandemic, is needed to close the remaining balance of payments gap and ease the fiscal situation. The authorities’ commitment to high standards of transparency and governance in the management of financial assistance is welcome. The IMF staff assesses that Nepal meets the RCF eligibility requirements and supports the request. Public debt is at low risk of distress and there is adequate capacity to repay the Fund. The IMF disbursement is expected to play a catalytic role in securing additional financing from Nepal’s development partners.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This Selected Issues paper on Nepal measures the extent to which Nepal’s households change their expenditure patterns and labor supply in response to remittances, using the Nepal Household Risk and Vulnerability Survey—2016 and employing a propensity score matching method. This study provides stylized facts on migrant workers and remittance-recipient households (HH), and then analyzes the effect of remittances on HHs' expenditure patterns and labor supply. Reliance on remittances, both at the macro and household levels, makes Nepal highly vulnerable to shifts that could diminish remittance inflows. The slowdown in growth of remittances has been significant since 2016, owing to weak economic performance in major remittance-sending economies and less outward migration. This study also analyzes the effect of remittances on labor market participation of left behind household heads, using a propensity score matching method. The results show that remittances have supported greater consumption of productive goods (such as durable goods, education and health), without discouraging labor supply of remittance-receiving family members.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This 2020 Article IV Consultation focuses on Nepal’s near and medium-term challenges and policy priorities and was prepared before coronavirus disease 2019 became a global pandemic and resulted in unprecedented strains in global trade, commodity and financial markets. During recent years, strong growth in Nepal has been supported by greater political stability, improved electricity supply, and reconstruction activity following the devastating earthquakes in 2015. Additional policies are needed to continue to support inclusive growth, while safeguarding macroeconomic and financial stability. Fiscal policy should remain prudent, and the transition to fiscal federalism carefully managed. Macroprudential measures should remain in place to limit the build-up of financial sector risk. Recent reforms to boost foreign investment need a supportive implementation environment. Strengthening the implementation of monetary policy requires a well-functioning interest rate framework that reduces volatility in short-term interest rates. Less short-term interest rate volatility would support financial market development and improve policy signaling and transmission. The IMF staff emphasizes the need to introduce a standing deposit facility as a first step toward establishing a reliable implementation track record for the interest rate corridor.
Ms. Manuela Goretti, Mr. Daisaku Kihara, Mr. Ranil M Salgado, and Ms. Anne Marie Gulde
Since the mid-1980s, du