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Mr. Ernesto Ramirez Rigo, Christine J. Richmond, Oluremi Akin Olugbade, Gareth Anderson, Maria Atamanchuk, Mr. Hatim Bukhari, Iacovos Ioannou, Deeksha Kale, Tannous Kass-Hanna, Mr. Maximilien Queyranne, Wei Shi, and Joyce Wong
Prior to the COVID-19 shock, the key challenge facing policymakers in the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia region was how to generate strong, sustainable, job-rich, inclusive growth. Post-COVID-19, this challenge has only grown given the additional reduction in fiscal space due to the crisis and the increased need to support the recovery. The sizable state-owned enterprise (SOE) footprint in the region, together with its cost to the government, call for revisiting the SOE sector to help open fiscal space and look for growth opportunities.
Mr. Ernesto Ramirez Rigo, Christine J. Richmond, Oluremi Akin Olugbade, Gareth Anderson, Maria Atamanchuk, Mr. Hatim Bukhari, Iacovos Ioannou, Deeksha Kale, Tannous Kass-Hanna, Mr. Maximilien Queyranne, Wei Shi, and Joyce Wong
Prior to the COVID-19 shock, the key challenge facing policymakers in the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia region was how to generate strong, sustainable, job-rich, inclusive growth. Post-COVID-19, this challenge has only grown given the additional reduction in fiscal space due to the crisis and the increased need to support the recovery. The sizable state-owned enterprise (SOE) footprint in the region, together with its cost to the government, call for revisiting the SOE sector to help open fiscal space and look for growth opportunities.
Mr. Ernesto Ramirez Rigo, Christine J. Richmond, Oluremi Akin Olugbade, Gareth Anderson, Maria Atamanchuk, Mr. Hatim Bukhari, Iacovos Ioannou, Deeksha Kale, Tannous Kass-Hanna, Mr. Maximilien Queyranne, Wei Shi, and Joyce Wong
Prior to the COVID-19 shock, the key challenge facing policymakers in the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia region was how to generate strong, sustainable, job-rich, inclusive growth. Post-COVID-19, this challenge has only grown given the additional reduction in fiscal space due to the crisis and the increased need to support the recovery. The sizable state-owned enterprise (SOE) footprint in the region, together with its cost to the government, call for revisiting the SOE sector to help open fiscal space and look for growth opportunities.
Mr. Philip Barrett, Maximiliano Appendino, Kate Nguyen, and Jorge de Leon Miranda
We present a new index of social unrest based on counts of relevant media reports. The index consists of individual monthly time series for 130 countries, available with almost no lag, and can be easily and transparently replicated. Spikes in the index identify major events, which correspond very closely to event timelines from external sources for four major regional waves of social unrest. We show that the cross-sectional distribution of the index can be simply and precisely characterized, and that social unrest is associated with a 3 percentage point increase in the frequency of social unrest domestically and a 1 percent increase in neighbors in the next six months. Despite this, social unrest is not a better predictor of future social unrest than the country average rate.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.

Abstract

Growth in the near term remains subdued for oil exporters in the Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan, and Pakistan (MENAP) region, amid volatile oil prices, precarious global growth, elevated fiscal vulnerabilities, and heightened geopolitical tensions. In addition, declining productivity is dampening medium-term growth prospects. To reduce dependence on oil prices and pave the way for more sustainable growth, fiscal consolidation needs to resume, underpinned by improved medium-term fiscal frameworks. In parallel, structural reforms and further financial sector development would boost foreign direct investment (FDI) and domestic private investment and foster diversification, thus contributing to improved productivity and potential growth.

Mario Mansour, Ms. Pritha Mitra, Mr. Carlo A Sdralevich, and Mr. Andrew Jewell
La quête d'égalité et d'équité — et ce que peuvent faire les gouvernements pour la satisfaire — est au cœur du débat économique et social dans le monde entier. Dans la région du Moyen-Orient et de l'Afrique du Nord (MOAN), ce thème revêt une signification particulière, mais n'a pas été suffisamment traité. Cette note de réflexion étudie le rôle que peuvent jouer les régimes fiscaux, interfaces essentielles entre les États et leurs citoyens, pour répondre aux exigences de plus grande équité économique dans les pays de la région MOAN. Elle conclut que dans les pays qui ont des régimes fiscaux bien établis ne reposant pas sur les hydrocarbures (principalement des pays importateurs de pétrole), les réformes devraient viser en priorité à simplifier la structure de la fiscalité et à introduire une plus grande progressivité de l'impôt sur le revenu, à élargir la base d'imposition, et à améliorer la conception et l'application des taxes foncières. L'administration fiscale devrait être plus efficace et conviviale. La simplification des régimes fiscaux réduirait le risque de traitement arbitraire. Les pays de la région MOAN dont les recettes fiscales hors hydrocarbures sont moins développées pourraient commencer par introduire une TVA et un impôt sur le revenu des sociétés à faible taux, instaurer des taxes foncières et des droits d'accises, et renforcer leurs capacités administratives et leur expertise fiscale, tout en établissant des plans pour l'introduction d'un impôt sur le revenu des personnes physiques. Dans toute la région, la réussite de ces réformes nécessitera d'assurer une communication efficace et transparente, et d'entretenir un dialogue constructif entre l'État et les citoyens.
Mario Mansour, Ms. Pritha Mitra, Mr. Carlo A Sdralevich, and Mr. Andrew Jewell
Fairness – and what governments can do about it – is at the forefront of economic and social debate all over the world. In MENA, this has been at the core of recent political transitions but has not been adequately addressed. This SDN explores how tax systems – a critical interface between the state and citizens – can play a role in meeting demands for greater economic fairness in MENA countries. The SDN finds that for countries with well-established non-hydrocarbon tax systems (mostly oil importers) reforms should focus on simplifying tax structures and introducing more progressivity of personal income taxes, broadening tax bases, and better designing and enforcing property taxes. Tax administration should be more efficient and user-friendly while simplifying tax regimes will reduce the scope for arbitrary implementation. MENA countries with less established non-hydrocarbon revenue systems can begin with a “starter pack” that includes introduction of low-rate value-added and corporate income taxes, excises, and property taxes while building up administrative capacity and taxation expertise together with plans for introducing a personal income tax. Across the region, effective communication, transparency, and constructive dialogue between the State and citizens are critical to the success of reforms.
Mario Mansour, Ms. Pritha Mitra, Mr. Carlo A Sdralevich, and Mr. Andrew Jewell
Fairness – and what governments can do about it – is at the forefront of economic and social debate all over the world. In MENA, this has been at the core of recent political transitions but has not been adequately addressed. This SDN explores how tax systems – a critical interface between the state and citizens – can play a role in meeting demands for greater economic fairness in MENA countries. The SDN finds that for countries with well-established non-hydrocarbon tax systems (mostly oil importers) reforms should focus on simplifying tax structures and introducing more progressivity of personal income taxes, broadening tax bases, and better designing and enforcing property taxes. Tax administration should be more efficient and user-friendly while simplifying tax regimes will reduce the scope for arbitrary implementation. MENA countries with less established non-hydrocarbon revenue systems can begin with a “starter pack” that includes introduction of low-rate value-added and corporate income taxes, excises, and property taxes while building up administrative capacity and taxation expertise together with plans for introducing a personal income tax. Across the region, effective communication, transparency, and constructive dialogue between the State and citizens are critical to the success of reforms.
International Monetary Fund. Communications Department
This chapter takes stock of the world’s development agenda, examining how to best seize this opportunity. Government officials and representatives from civil society organizations, donor groups, and the private sector are scheduled to meet in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to secure the financing needed to lift millions out of extreme poverty. Participants at the United Nations summit on climate change in Paris are expected to work toward a set of environmental targets aimed at ensuring a sustainable future. The chapter also presents an argument that the world needs strong deals in Addis Ababa on financing and in Paris on climate to deliver sustainable progress.