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Ian Parry
The United States has pledged to become carbon neutral by 2050, meet sectoral objectives (e.g., for carbon free power, electric vehicles) and encourage greater mitigation among large emitting countries and of international transportation emissions. Fiscal policies at the national, sectoral, and international level could play a critical role in implementing these objectives, along with investment, regulatory, and technology policies. Fiscal instruments are cost-effective, can enhance political acceptability, and do not worsen, or could help alleviate, budgetary pressures. Domestically, a fiscal policy package could contain a mix of economy-wide carbon pricing and revenue-neutral feebates (i.e., tax-subsidy schemes) with the latter reinforcing mitigation in the transport, power, industrial, building, forestry, and agricultural sectors. Internationally, a carbon price floor among large emitters (with flexibility to implement equivalent measures) could effectively scale up global mitigation, while levies/feebates offer a practical approach for reducing maritime and aviation emissions.
Pierpaolo Grippa and Samuel Mann
This paper explores three possible transmission channels for transition risk shocks to the financial system in Norway. First, we estimate the direct firm-level impact of a substantial increase in domestic carbon prices under severe assumptions. Second, we map the impact of a drastic increase in global carbon prices on the domestic economy via the Norwegian oil sector. Third, we model the impact of a forced reduction in Norwegian oil firms’ output on shareholder portfolios. Results show that such a sharp increase in carbon prices would have a significant but manageable impact on banks. Finally, the paper discusses ways to advance the still evolving field of transition risk stress testing.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This Selected Issues paper studies the inefficiencies related to the electricity sector and assesses the potential impact of the 2019 reform plan. Electricity shortages are the second constraint to competitiveness reported by businesses in Lebanon, based on the Enterprise Survey conducted by the World Bank. Lebanon’s electricity sector performance is worse than other similar countries in the region. Many businesses must rely on costly private generators. Income inequalities are exacerbated by both the geographical disparities in Electricité du Liban’s (EdL) electricity provision and its tariff structure. The most vulnerable households are the small consumers located in regions with little electricity provision from EdL. A new electricity plan was approved by Cabinet on April 9, 2019 and ratified by Parliament on April 17, 2019. Although it is critical that the plan is decisively implemented, it is also important that it is enhanced further to fully restore EdL’s viability. Introducing well-targeted measures, such as cash transfers, would help protect the most vulnerable households from the tariff increase. As planned in the reform package, consumer tariffs should be indexed on the evolution of input prices to guarantee that it will not be negatively impacted by future developments in fuel or gas prices.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This Selected Issues paper identifies constraints to economic growth in the Kyrgyz Republic, using the Hausmann-Velasco-Rodrik diagnostic approach. It finds that large infrastructure gaps, weak governance and rule of law, and high cost of finance appear to be the most binding constraints to private investment and growth. Additional critical factors are the quality of education and onerous regulations. There is room to improve both the quality and cost/efficiency of education spending. Although relatively low, labor costs have exceeded productivity growth and there is room to improve labor market efficiency. Despite important investments, the infrastructure gap remains large and the country ranks relatively low on infrastructure quality. Weak governance undermines growth through various channels: investment, human capital, and productivity. Weak institutions increase the cost of doing business and make the appropriation of investment returns less certain, overall reducing investor’s risk appetite to invest. Public debt is on the high side and the composition of spending is tilted toward current spending.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This paper discusses Jordan’s Second Review under the Extended Arrangement under the Extended Fund Facility, Requests for a Waiver of Nonobservance of Performance Criterion, an extension of the arrangement, and rephasing of access. Discussions highlight that the Jordanian authorities have preserved macroeconomic stability, maintain a prudent monetary policy, and ensured a sound financial system. Jordan faces a challenging environment—including low economic growth, high unemployment, and elevated public debt—underscoring the importance of swiftly implementing policies and reforms to bring public debt on a downward path, boost investment and productivity, and enhance inclusive growth. The enactment of long needed growth-enhancing reforms is encouraging, including the secured transactions law, the bankruptcy law, and the business-inspections law. The international community has strongly supported the new government’s commitment to maintain the reform momentum, strengthen growth, and reduce public debt. The London Initiative in February 2019 has helped unlock essential budget grants and concessional financing to support the authorities’ reform program.
Mr. Hamid R Tabarraei, Hamed Ghiaie, and Asghar Shahmoradi