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.
In response to a request from the Government of Kenya, an AFRITAC East (AFE) government finance statistics (GFS) technical assistance (TA) mission was conducted in Nairobi, Kenya, during October 7–16, 2019. The primary objective of the mission was to support staff in improving the quality of fiscal and public debt data for the general government and migration of the fiscal framework to Government Finance Statistics Manual 2014 (GFSM 2014) concepts to facilitate fiscal and debt policy analysis for improved public financial management. This is a continuation of the ongoing efforts in capacity development aimed at supporting member countries to adopt the GFSM 2014 and the Public Sector Debt Statistics Guide (PSDSG 2011).
This Technical Assistance Mission has been undertaken to support the Bank of South Sudan (BSS) in improving external sector statistics (ESS). The recommendations made during the 2018 mission for the recording of oil exports and transactions with Sudan under the Transitional Financial Agreement were implemented by the BSS. The mission worked toward enhancing the inter-agency cooperation by meeting with selected public sector bodies, providing them with an overview of the balance of payments and the data that the BSS will request from them. Before the end of the mission, requested data from one of the entities, the Civil Aviation Authority was provided. A work program was developed to conduct a visitor expenditure survey and a preliminary International Reserves and Foreign Currency Liquidity template was submitted to IMF’s Statistics Department for review. In order to support progress in the various work areas, the mission recommended a detailed one-year action plan, with the several priority recommendations carrying weight to make headway in improving ESS reliability.