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Can Sever and Athene Laws
This paper aims to provide a broad perspective on the WAEMU fiscal framework. Based on backward looking exercises and forward looking scenarios, it shows that (i) repeated fiscal slippages and historically large stock flow adjustments contributed to the surge in the WAEMU public debt, and (ii) stock flow adjustments can have significant effects on the WAEMU debt dynamics going forward. This paper also discusses that it is essential and urgent to reintroduce the fiscal rules and the Convergence Pact and to enhance the rules. Revamping the fiscal rules should focus on introducing a correction mechanism (which could contain surges in debt in the future) and an escape clause (which would enhance fiscal discipline and predictability), as well as capturing the extensive extra-budgetary and below-the-line operations and strengthening the enforcement mechanism. Any consideration to changing the fiscal deficit target should also encompass addressing extra-budgetary and below-the-line transactions (for example by changing the definition of the deficit). It is not appropriate to increase the debt ceiling.