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International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
Albania continues to be severely affected by the aftermath of the November 2019 earthquake and the COVID-19 pandemic. The authorities responded promptly to the shocks, and macroeconomic and financial stability have so far been maintained. The economy is expected to contract sharply in 2020, followed by a gradual recovery in 2021-22. The outlook is subject to major uncertainty and rising downside risks as a second wave is gripping many countries in Europe. Albania’s capacity to repay the Fund is adequate, but risks have risen in light of the shocks. Aside from a more severe pandemic, key risks stem from elevated public deficits and debt, weaknesses in public finances, and a relatively high level of non-performing loans (NPLs) and euroization.
International Monetary Fund. Fiscal Affairs Dept.
The Polish government is making good progress with implementing the ambitious Budget System Reforms (BSR) program, first approved by the Council of Ministers (CoM) in 2016. The government demonstrates a high level of commitment to these reforms and is making significant progress in implementing the recommendations of earlier FAD missions with the support of the resident advisor.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
This Technical Assistance (TA) report on Bosnia and Herzegovina highlights that the negative spread in a context of structural lower returns on foreign exchange reserves and sizable capital inflows has led to a gradual and steady erosion of the currency board coverage ratio. The Central Bank of Bosnia and Herzegovina (CBBH) requested Technical Assistance to review its reserve requirement framework. The mission recommends aligning the remuneration of reserve requirements on foreign exchange liabilities to the CBBH’s opportunity cost. The mission also recommends prescribing the fulfilment in foreign currency of the reserve requirements for foreign currency liabilities. It also suggested altering the remuneration scheme of domestic reserve requirements. In order to be neutral from an intermediation perspective, the reserve requirement remuneration should be aligned to the market-neutral uncovered interest rate parity rate, whereas the remuneration of excess reserves may take place significantly below the market-neutral rate but at or above the foreign currency remuneration rate. The CBBH may benefit from a constructive dialogue with the Area Department or TA to set the new rates of remuneration of domestic reserve requirement and excess reserves.
Francesco Spadafora, Mr. Emidio Cocozza, and Mr. Andrea Colabella
This paper analyzes the impact of the global crisis on six South-Eastern European countries. The main objective is to compare macro-financial conditions and policies in the run-up to the crisis as well as to compare the policy responses to it, so as to highlight, inter alia, possible country-specific constraints. While sharing a common pre-crisis pattern of strong capital inflows and robust growth, a key difference in the conduct of macroeconomicpolicies is that some countries adopted expansionary (and procyclical) fiscal policies. These moves exacerbated external vulnerabilities and compromised the ability to discretionarily use the fiscal instrument in acountercyclical fashion.
International Monetary Fund

The global crisis left Albania fairly unscathed and ushered in the needed economic rebalancing. The policy framework has been challenged in the post-crisis environment significant headwinds. Despite improvement, external imbalances remain elevated. Fiscal consolidation in terms of a more realistic macroeconomic framework will require credible measures and sustained efforts. Financial sector supervision and regulation will need to stay ahead of evolving challenges. Boosting productivity by attracting foreign investment is essential for higher sustainable growth.

Sophia Gollwitzer, Eteri Kvintradze, Mr. Tej Prakash, Luis-Felipe Zanna, Ms. Era Dabla-Norris, Mr. Richard I Allen, Irene Yackovlev, and Victor Duarte Lledo
This paper presents, for the first time, multi-dimensional indices of the quality of budget institutions in low-income countries. The indices allow for benchmarking against the performance of middle-income countries, across regions, and according to different institutional arrangements that deliver good fiscal performance. Using the constructed indices, the paper provides preliminary empirical support for the hypotheses that strong budget institutions help improve fiscal balances and public external debt outcomes; and countries with stronger fiscal institutions have better scope to conduct countercyclical policies.
International Monetary Fund
This Joint Staff Advisory Note focuses on the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) for Albania. The note analyzes the National Strategy for Development and Integration (NSDI) program, which represents a significant improvement in process over the previous PRSP. The note discusses that the main strengths of the current process are strong government ownership; a broader participatory process that lays the foundation for greater civil society participation in public policy making; an improved poverty diagnosis; and ambitious plans for monitoring the overall effectiveness of Albania’s public expenditures.
International Monetary Fund
The main challenges for this review were to further redress long-running problems in the energy sector and to balance fiscal policy requirements for development spending with macroeconomic stability. The financial position of the state-owned electricity company (KESH) deteriorated significantly more than anticipated. The authorities have adopted a two-pronged solution to the electricity crisis. The authorities are prioritizing the strengthening of regulation to assure financial stability in a rapidly maturing financial system. The proposed conditionality for the Fifth Review is consistent with program goals, and the program is fully financed.
International Monetary Fund

The main challenges for this review were to further redress long-running problems in the energy sector and to balance fiscal policy requirements for development spending with macroeconomic stability. The financial position of the state-owned electricity company (KESH) deteriorated significantly more than anticipated. The authorities have adopted a two-pronged solution to the electricity crisis. The authorities are prioritizing the strengthening of regulation to assure financial stability in a rapidly maturing financial system. The proposed conditionality for the Fifth Review is consistent with program goals, and the program is fully financed.