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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.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.

Abstract

The pandemic continues to spread in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), but economic activity is picking up. After a deep contraction in April, activity started recovering in May, as lockdowns were gradually eased, consumers and firms adapted to social distancing, some countries introduced sizable policy support, and global activity strengthened.

International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.

Abstract

The pandemic continues to spread in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), but economic activity is picking up. After a deep contraction in April, activity started recovering in May, as lockdowns were gradually eased, consumers and firms adapted to social distancing, some countries introduced sizable policy support, and global activity strengthened.

International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.

Abstract

The pandemic continues to spread in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), but economic activity is picking up. After a deep contraction in April, activity started recovering in May, as lockdowns were gradually eased, consumers and firms adapted to social distancing, some countries introduced sizable policy support, and global activity strengthened.

Mr. Marcos d Chamon, Mr. David J Hofman, Mr. Nicolas E Magud, and Alejandro M. Werner

Abstract

Foreign exchange intervention is widely used as a policy tool, particularly in emerging markets, but many facets of this tool remain limited, especially in the context of flexible exchange rate regimes. The Latin American experience can be informative because some of its largest countries adopted floating exchange rate regimes and inflation targeting while continuing to intervene in foreign exchange markets. This edited volume reviews detailed accounts from several Latin American countries’ central banks, and it provides insight into how and with what aim many interventions were decided and implemented. This book documents the effectiveness of intervention and pays special attention to the role of foreign exchange intervention policy within inflation-targeting monetary frameworks. The main lesson from Latin America’s foreign exchange interventions, in the context of inflation targeting, is that the region has had a considerable degree of success. Transparency and a clear communication policy have been key. For economies that are not highly dollarized, rules-based intervention helped contain financial instability and build international reserves while preserving inflation targets. The Latin American experience can help other countries in the design and implementation of their policies.

Dyna Heng, Anna Ivanova, Rodrigo Mariscal, Ms. Uma Ramakrishnan, and Joyce Wong
This paper examines the state of financial development in the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region as well as potential growth and stability implications from further development. The analysis suggests that access to financial institutions has expanded notably in the past decade, and the region compares favorably with other emerging market regions on this dimension. The region, however, continues to lag behind peers on broader financial development, especially with respect to markets, though there is substantial heterogeneity across countries. Financial systems in many LAC countries are also underdeveloped relative to their macroeconomic fundamentals. Further financial development could convey net benefits to the region, provided there is adequate regulatory oversight to prevent excesses.

Abstract

La eficiencia, la eficacia y la transparencia de la gestión financiera pública en América Latina son fundamentales para la supervisión de los recursos públicos, la estabilidad fiscal y el desarrollo económico sostenible. En años recientes, los países de América Latina han adoptado reformas en la gestión financiera pública y han logrado muchos avances importantes; sin embargo, todavía existen retos. Este libro reúne el conocimiento y las experiencias del personal técnico del FMI y el BID y de representantes de 16 Gobiernos de la región para documentar estas reformas, y examina las experiencias y las lecciones aprendidas. Es un recurso valioso para quienes se ocupan de estos temas en la gestión financiera pública.

Abstract

In recent years, the countries of Latin America have embraced reforms in public financial management and have made many important advances—however, many challenges remain. This book brings together IMF and IDB staff and representatives from 16 governments in the region to document these reforms, and to examine the experiences and lessons learned. It is a valuable resource for those looking at issues in public financial management.

International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This Selected Issues paper examines several real sector issues, including estimates of potential output, the effect of Intel’s withdrawal on gross domestic product (GDP), labor market and inequality and electricity prices in Costa Rica. The production function approach shows that the main drivers of fluctuations in GDP growth are total factor productivity (TFP) and labor supply. These results on TFP, however, should be interpreted with caution. The TFP measure is a residual—the difference between output growth and the growth in the quantity (and quality) of inputs. Estimates suggest that potential GDP growth is about 4.3 percent, the output gap is broadly closed, and Intel’s withdrawal will lower real GDP growth in about 1/2 percentage point. Significant wage premia are identified across public versus private sectors and some evidence of intergenerational inequality is also presented. Electricity tariffs are found to be regionally competitive albeit with inefficiencies in their determination.