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International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This 2019 Article IV Consultation with the Solomon Islands highlights that the country has made substantial progress since the Tensions in the early 2000s but faces considerable economic and governance challenges and is highly vulnerable to natural disasters. Finding new sources of growth is becoming urgent with the decline in logging. The consultation focused on similar issues to last year—restoring fiscal buffers to build resilience, strengthening public financial management and public investment management, setting a medium-term fiscal strategy, improving governance, improving exchange rate management and building conditions for sustainable growth. The report recommends developing a holistic approach to medium-term fiscal policy by setting a realistic spending envelope and establishing a medium-term revenue strategy. Together with strengthened budget planning and expenditure control, this would provide greater budget predictability and support natural disaster contingency planning. It is also imperative to strengthen enforcement of governance standards, apply the mining fiscal regime rigorously, improve transparency and advance the anti-corruption agenda.
Ryota Nakatani
A big challenge for the economic development of small island countries is dealing with external shocks. The Pacific Islands are vulnerable to natural disasters, climate change, commodity price changes, and uncertain donor grants. The question that arises is how should small developing countries formulate a fiscal policy to achieve economic stability and fiscal sustainability when prone to various shocks? We study how natural disasters affect long-term debt dynamics and propose fiscal policy rules that could help insulate the economy from such unexpected shocks. We propose fiscal rules to address these shocks and uncertainties using the example of Papua New Guinea. Our study finds the advantages of expenditure rules, especially a recurrent expenditure rule based on non-resource and non-grant revenue, interdependently determined by government debt and budget balance targets with expected disaster shocks. This paper contributes to the literature and policy dialogue by theoretically analyzing the impact of natural disasters on debt sustainability and proposing fiscal rules against natural disasters and climate changes. Our fiscal policy framework is practically applicable for many developing countries facing increasing frequency and impact of natural disasters and climate change. Our rules-based fiscal framework is crucial for sustainable and countercyclical macroeconomic policies to build resilience against devastating natural hazards.
Hidetaka Nishizawa, Mr. Scott Roger, and Huan Zhang
Pacific island countries (PICs) are vulnerable severe natural disasters, especially cyclones, inflicting large losses on their economies. In the aftermath of disasters, PIC governments face revenue losses and spending pressures to address post-disaster relief and recovery efforts. This paper estimates the effects of severe natural disasters on fiscal revenues and expenditure in PICs. These are combined with information on the frequency of large disasters to calculate the rate of budgetary savings needed to build appropriate fiscal buffers. Fiscal buffers provide self-insurance against natural disaster shocks and facilitate quick disbursement for recovery and relief efforts, and protection of spending on essential services and infrastructure. The estimates can provide a benchmark for policymakers, and should be adjusted to take into account other sources of financing, as well as budget risks from less severe as well as more frequent disasters.
International Monetary Fund. Strategy, Policy, &, Review Department, International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept., and International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This paper discusses how countries vulnerable to natural disasters can reduce the associated human and economic cost. Building on earlier work by IMF staff, the paper views disaster risk management through the lens of a three-pillar strategy for building structural, financial, and post-disaster (including social) resilience. A coherent disaster resilience strategy, based on a diagnostic of risks and cost-effective responses, can provide a road map for how to tackle disaster related vulnerabilities. It can also help mobilize much-needed support from the international community.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
Solomon Islands has made substantial progress since the Tensions in the early 2000s but faces considerable economic and governance challenges and is highly vulnerable to natural disasters. The logging industry confronts depletion and new sources of growth are needed. Governance challenges are significant, stemming from weak oversight of the resource sectors, a lack of transparency and a need to strengthen public financial management.
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.
Mr. Si Guo and Mr. Futoshi Narita
Pacific island countries are exposed to significant risks from natural disasters. As a disaster relief measure, Fiji allowed pre-retirement pension withdrawls in the wake of Cyclone Winston in 2016. Motivated by this policy action, we provide a normative analysis of the use of early pension withdrawals after disasters, by setting up a life-cycle saving model with myopic households facing large natural disaster shocks. The model demonstrates the key trade-off between building up sufficient retirement savings and ensuring the access to savings against natural disaster shocks, and sheds light on welfare implications of early pension withdrawals.
Dongyeol Lee, Huan Zhang, and Chau Nguyen
Pacific island countries are highly vulnerable to various natural disasters which are destructive, unpredictable and occur frequently. The frequency and scale of these shocks heightens the importance of medium-term economic and fiscal planning to minimize the adverse impact of disasters on economic development. This paper identifies the intensity of natural disasters for each country in the Pacific based on the distribution of damage and population affected by disasters, and estimates the impact of disasters on economic growth and international trade using a panel regression. The results show that “severe” disasters have a significant and negative impact on economic growth and lead to a deterioration of the fiscal and trade balance. We also find that the negative impact on growth is stronger for more intense disasters. Going further this paper proposes a simple and consistent method to adjust IMF staff’s economic projections and debt sustainability analysis for disaster shocks for the Pacific islands. Better incorporating the economic impact of natural disasters in the medium- and long-term economic planning would help policy makers improve fiscal policy decisions and to be better adapted and prepared for natural disasters.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This Selected Issues paper sets out options to demonstrate how the authorities could supplement their cash balance target and public debt limit with an anchor to help discipline annual budget decisions. The paper introduces the current fiscal framework and effective fiscal rules based on international experiences, including the characteristics of each rule. It also discusses the need for a new fiscal anchor, given high revenue volatility, high infrastructure needs, and the country’s exposure and vulnerability to natural disasters. Contingency warrants for unforeseen expenditures, including from natural disasters, should be included in the budget in line with international best practices. Furthermore, if a disaster does not occur, this allocation could be saved in a contingency fund for natural disasters, which would enable swift disbursement in the aftermath of the disaster. The fund would be set up once fiscal buffers have been rebuilt. The IMF Staff suggests a target for the overall fiscal deficit of 1.5 percent of gross domestic product as a possible fiscal anchor, which would strike a balance between safeguarding debt sustainability and addressing the severe infrastructure gap.