Hites Ahir, Hendre Garbers, Mattia Coppo, Mr. Giovanni Melina, Mr. Futoshi Narita, Ms. Filiz D Unsal, Vivian Malta, Xin Tang, Daniel Gurara, Luis-Felipe Zanna, Linda G. Venable, Mr. Kangni R Kpodar, and Mr. Chris Papageorgiou
Despite strong economic growth since 2000, many low-income countries (LICs) still face numerous macroeconomic challenges, even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the deceleration in real GDP growth during the 2008 global financial crisis, LICs on average saw 4.5 percent of real GDP growth during 2000 to 2014, making progress in economic convergence toward higher-income countries. However, the commodity price collapse in 2014–15 hit many commodity-exporting LICs and highlighted their vulnerabilities due to the limited extent of economic diversification. Furthermore, LICs are currently facing a crisis like no other—COVID-19, which requires careful policymaking to save lives and livelihoods in LICs, informed by policy debate and thoughtful research tailored to the COVID-19 situation. There are also other challenges beyond COVID-19, such as climate change, high levels of public debt burdens, and persistent structural issues.
This Fiscal Transparency Evaluation (FTE) assesses the quality of fiscal reporting in Kenya against the principles set out in the Fiscal Transparency Code. Kenya has experienced a lot of structural and economic changes since 2014. One of the key objectives of this FTE is to estimate Kenya’s balance sheet, and to cover as many as possible of the entities in the public sector. The coverage of Kenya’s reporting of fiscal statistics has improved considerably. The report discusses that Kenya continues to perform well in the overall transparency of its fiscal forecasting and budgeting practices (Pillar II of the Code), which is based on a strong legal framework. It does so against a backdrop of significant ongoing reforms, including far-reaching fiscal devolution to counties, and the introduction of performance-based budgeting. A recent important change in the law is expected to synchronize the submission and approval of the government’s spending proposals and the tax measures in the Finance Bill. The recommendations set out under each of the pillars of this report aim to address several challenges. The report also encourages the authorities to continue with the implementation of the recommendations set out in the 2014 report, on which good or satisfactory progress has been made in about half the cases.
This Technical Assistance report on the Uganda focuses on strengthening the performance of public investment management – next phase. Significant progress has been achieved since 2015 in strengthening public investment management, with the reforms showing first results. New procedures need to be designed to refresh project information and assess the status of ongoing projects. With better information, a robust prioritization process of ongoing and new projects within the medium-term envelope should be implemented. Discussions with Ministries, Departments and Agencies, and the mission’s analysis of the upgraded project data identified inconsistencies between projects’ planned use of resources, approved project budgets and the medium-term resource envelope. Reliable and updated information on project forward estimates and commitments like signed contracts and certificates of work is fundamental for ensuring sufficient and timely funding of projects. Recent strengthening of Public Investment Management processes has been accomplished with limited changes to the legal framework.
Mr. Niko A Hobdari, Vina Nguyen, Mr. Salvatore Dell'Erba, and Mr. Edgardo Ruggiero
Fiscal decentralization is becoming a pressing issue in a number of countries in sub-Saharan Africa, reflecting demands for a greater local voice in spending decisions and efforts to strengthen social cohesion. Against this backdrop, this paper seeks to distill the lessons for an effective fiscal decentralization reform, focusing on the macroeconomic aspects. The main findings for sub-Saharan African countries that have decentralized, based on an empirical analysis and four case studies (Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda), are as follows: • Determinants and effectiveness: Empirical results suggest that (1) the major driving forces behind fiscal decentralization in sub-Saharan Africa include efforts to defuse ethnic conflicts, the initial level of income, and the urban-ization rate, whereas strength of democracy is not an important determi-nant for decentralization; and (2) decentralization in sub-Saharan Africa is associated with higher growth in the presence of stronger institutions.
• Spending assignments: The allocation of spending across levels of gov-ernment in the four case studies is broadly consistent with best practice. However, in Uganda, unlike in the other three case studies, subnational governments have little flexibility to make spending decisions as a result of a deconcentrated rather than a devolved system of government.
• Own revenue: The assignment of taxing powers is broadly in line with best practice in the four case studies, with the bulk of subnational revenue coming from property taxes and from f