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International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
Strong and timely containment measures have successfully prevented a domestic COVID-19 outbreak but have also weighed on economic activity. The real GDP is estimated to have contracted by 3.3 percent in FY2020 and is projected to further decline by another 1.5 percent in FY 2021 due to continued travel restrictions. Economic activity is expected to pick up in FY2022, as COVID-related restrictions will be relaxed gradually. The government is currently negotiating the renewal of Compact of Free Association (COFA) financial provisions with the United States, but terms remain uncertain. The government is considering to repeal the SOV Act and a bill on establishing a Digital Economic Zone was submitted to the Parliament recently.
International Monetary Fund. Fiscal Affairs Dept., International Monetary Fund. Strategy, Policy, &, and Review Department
This Supplement presents an account of the extensive consultations and the results of various analyses that supported the development of “A Strategy for IMF Engagement on Social Spending.”
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This 2018 Article IV Consultation highlight that growth in the Marshallese economy is estimated to have accelerated to about 3.5 percent in FY2017 (ending September 30) with a strong pick-up in fisheries and construction, with the latter owing to the resumption of infrastructure projects. Consumer prices started to rise again in mid-2017, with annual consumer price index inflation at 1.1 percent in 2017Q4. Growth is expected to remain robust at about 2.5 percent in FY2018 and about 1.5 percent over the medium term, underpinned by further increases in infrastructure spending. Inflation is expected to rise gradually to about 2 percent over the medium term.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This Selected Issues paper discusses correspondent banking relationships (CBRs) pressures on the Republic of the Marshall Island (RMI). RMI’s two banks currently have access to the US financial system. The Bank of the Marshall Islands is a domestic financial institution providing banking services to a substantial portion of the population and operates five branches throughout RMI, including on the Kwajalein Atoll. RMI, through the Trust Company of the Marshall Islands, provides offshore corporate and maritime registry services. Weak implementation of the anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) framework by the authorities contributes to CBR pressures in RMI. The termination of BOMI’s CBR with First Hawaiian Bank would be expected to have significant negative economic repercussions without alternative arrangements. The RMI authorities are strengthening the effectiveness of the AML/CFT framework. Additional steps should be taken to further lower the risk of losing the last US dollar CBR. Once the national risk assessment is completed, an action plan should be developed to address the identified risks.
Jihad Alwazir, Mr. Fazurin Jamaludin, Dongyeol Lee, Niamh Sheridan, and Ms. Patrizia Tumbarello
Access to financial services in the small states of the Pacific is being eroded. Weaknesses in Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism compliance in the context of high levels of remittances are contributing to banks’ decisions to withdraw corresponding banking relationships and close bank accounts of money transfer operators. In this paper, we gather evidence on these developments in the small states of the Pacific, discuss the main drivers, and the potentially negative impact on the financial sector and macroeconomy. We then identify the collective efforts needed to address the consequences of withdrawal of corresponding banking relationships and outline policy measures to help the affected countries mitigate the impact.
Tamoya A. L. Christie and Dhanaraj Thakur
Of the countries in the Caribbean and Pacific Islands, Timor-Leste has the most well-developed gender budgeting initiative. In the Pacific Islands, a few gender budgeting efforts were initiated but did not continue. In the Caribbean, there have been no well-developed gender budgeting efforts, although governments have undertaken policies to promote gender equality. We provide a number of recommendations to improve the effectiveness of gender budgeting efforts. Governments should link gender budgeting to national development plans, set realistic time expectations for achieving results, engage in capacity building with officials, draw upon strengths outside the government, and strengthen regional coordination.
International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office

Abstract

This report examines whether the IMF has effectively leveraged an important asset: data. It finds that in general, the IMF has been able to rely on a large amount of data of acceptable quality, and that data provision from member countries has improved markedly over time. Nonetheless, problems with data or data practices have, at times, adversely affected the IMF’s surveillance and lending activities. The roots of data problems are diverse, ranging from problems due to member countries’ capacity constraints or reluctance to share sensitive dat