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International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
This Selected Issues paper assesses the sustainability of Zambia’s current fiscal policies and public debt. Large fiscal imbalances and rapid increase in government debt since 2011 have raised concern about the sustainability of fiscal policies in Zambia. Fueled by the rapid exchange rate depreciation in 2014–15 and the heavy reliance on external sources to finance the growing fiscal imbalances, public external debt doubled in 2015 compared with 2014. The institutional framework for the budget process and the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework need to be strengthened. Poor commitment controls, which led to significant accumulation of payment arrears, need to be addressed. A sound Medium-Term Debt Management Strategy is required to reduce public sector debt vulnerability.
Mr. David Coady, Valentina Flamini, and Louis Sears
Understanding who benefits from fuel price subsidies and the welfare impact of increasing fuel prices is key to designing, and gaining public support for, subsidy reform. This paper updates evidence for developing countries on the magnitude of the welfare impact of subsidy reform and its distribution across income groups, incorporating more recent studies and expanding the number of countries. These studies confirm that a very large share of benefits from price subsidies goes to high-income households, further reinforcing existing income inequalities. The results can also help to approximate the welfare impact of subsidy reform for countries where the data necessary for such an analysis is not available.
Mr. Benedict J. Clements, Mr. David Coady, Ms. Stefania Fabrizio, Mr. Sanjeev Gupta, Mr. Trevor Serge Coleridge Alleyne, and Mr. Carlo A Sdralevich

Abstract

Los subsidios a la energía tienen consecuencias económicas de amplio alcance. A pesar de que tienen por objeto proteger a los consumidores, los subsidios agravan los desequilibrios fiscales, desplazan gastos públicos prioritarios y deprimen la inversión privada, en particular en el sector de la energía. Los subsidios también distorsionan la asignación de recursos al promover un consumo excesivo de energía, estimular artificialmente industrias que requieren un uso intensivo de capital, reducir los incentivos a la inversión en energías renovables y acelerar el agotamiento de los recursos naturales. Los hogares de mayores ingresos son en definitiva los principales beneficiarios de los subsidios, con lo cual se agudiza la desigualdad. Incluso las generaciones futuras se ven afectadas por los efectos perjudiciales de un aumento del consumo de energía a través del calentamiento global. Este libro ofrece 1) las estimaciones más completas de los subsidios a la energía disponibles en la actualidad con respecto a 176 países y 2) un análisis de cómo realizar la reforma de los subsidios a la energía, a partir de las conclusiones extraídas de 22 estudios de casos realizados por el personal técnico del FMI y de análisis llevados a cabo por otras instituciones.

Mr. Benedict J. Clements, Mr. David Coady, Ms. Stefania Fabrizio, Mr. Sanjeev Gupta, Mr. Trevor Serge Coleridge Alleyne, and Mr. Carlo A Sdralevich

Abstract

Les subventions à l'énergie ont des conséquences économiques très variées. Leur but est de protéger les consommateurs, mais elles exacerbent les déséquilibres budgétaires, évincent les dépenses publiques prioritaires et dépriment l'investissement privé, notamment dans le secteur de l'énergie. Les subventions faussent en outre l'affectation des ressources, car elles encouragent une consommation excessive d'énergie, favorisent artificiellement les industries à forte intensité de capital, réduisent les incitations à investir dans les énergies renouvelables et accélèrent l'épuisement des ressources naturelles. La plupart des avantages liés aux subventions reviennent aux ménages dont le revenu est plus élevé, ce qui accentue les inégalités. Même les générations futures sont touchées, car elles subiront les effets négatifs de l'accroissement de la consommation énergétique sur le réchauffement de la planète. Cet ouvrage offre 1) les estimations les plus exhaustives sur les subventions énergétiques en s’appuyant sur les données recueillies dans 176 pays et 2) une analyse des modalités de réforme des subventions à l'énergie qui s'inspire des conclusions de 22 études de cas nationales menées par le FMI et d'analyses entreprises par d’autres institutions.

Mr. Benedict J. Clements, Mr. David Coady, Ms. Stefania Fabrizio, Mr. Sanjeev Gupta, Mr. Trevor Serge Coleridge Alleyne, and Mr. Carlo A Sdralevich

Abstract

Energy subsidies have wide-ranging economic consequences. Although they are aimed at protecting consumers, subsidies aggravate fiscal imbalances, crowd out priority public spending, and depress private investment, including in the energy sector. Subsidies also distort resource allocation by encouraging excessive energy consumption, artificially promoting capital-intensive industries, reducing incentives for investment in renewable energy, and accelerating the depletion of natural resources. Most subsidy benefits are captured by higher-income households, reinforcing inequality. Even future generations are affected through the damaging effects of increased energy consumption on global warming. This book provides (1) the most comprehensive estimates of energy subsidies currently available for 176 countries and (2) an analysis of “how to do” energy subsidy reform, drawing on insights from 22 country case studies undertaken by the IMF staff and analyses carried out by other institutions.

Mr. Benedict J. Clements, Mr. David Coady, Ms. Stefania Fabrizio, Mr. Sanjeev Gupta, Mr. Trevor Serge Coleridge Alleyne, and Mr. Carlo A Sdralevich

Abstract

Energy subsidies are aimed at protecting consumers, however, subsidies aggravate fiscal imbalances, crowd out priority public spending, and depress private investment, including in the energy sector. This book provides the most comprehensive estimates of energy subsidies currently available for 176 countries and an analysis of “how to do” energy subsidy reform, drawing on insights from 22 country case studies undertaken by the IMF staff and analyses carried out by other institutions.

International Monetary Fund. Fiscal Affairs Dept.

Abstract

Continued progress in reducing advanced economy deficits and a gradually improving external environment have lowered short-term fiscal risks, according to this issue, but global prospects nevertheless remain subdued, and many advanced economies face a lengthy, difficult, and uncertain path to fiscal sustainability. Though many advanced economies are now close to achieving primary surpluses that will allow them to stabilize their debt ratios, this is only a first step, as merely stabilizing advanced economy debt at current levels would be detrimental to medium- and longer-term economic prospects. The key elements of the required policy package are well known: foremost among them is setting out—and implementing—a clear and credible plan to bring debt ratios down over the medium term. Debt dynamics have remained relatively positive in most emerging market economies and low-income countries, and most plan to continue to allow the automatic stabilizers to operate fully, while pausing the underlying fiscal adjustment process. Those with low general government debt and deficits can afford to maintain a neutral stance in response to a weaker global outlook. But countries with relatively high or quickly increasing debt levels are exposed to sizable risks, especially once effective interest rates rise as monetary policy normalizes in the advanced economies and concessional financing from advanced economies declines. The widespread use of energy subsidies makes commodity prices an additional source of vulnerability in many emerging market and low-income economies; subsidy reform, higher consumption taxes, and broadening of tax bases would help support consolidation efforts.

International Monetary Fund
This supplement presents country case studies reviewing energy subsidy reform experiences, which are the basis for the reform lessons identified in the main paper. The selection of countries for the case studies reflects the availability of data and of previously documented evidence on country-specific reforms. The 22 country case studies were also chosen to provide cases from all regions and a mix of outcomes from reform. The studies cover 19 countries, including seven from sub-Saharan Africa, two in developing Asia, three in the Middle East and North Africa, four in Latin America and the Caribbean, and three in Central and Eastern Europe and the CIS. The case studies are organized by energy product, with 14 studies of the reform of petroleum product subsidies, seven studies of the reform of electricity subsidies, and a case study of subsidy reform for coal. The larger number of studies on fuel subsidies reflects the wider availability of data and past studies for these reforms. The structure of each case study is similar, with each one providing the context of the reform and a description of the reforms; discussion of the impact of the reform on energy prices or subsidies and its success or failure; mitigating measures that were implemented in an attempt to generate public support for the reform and offset adverse effects on the poor; and, finally, identification of lessons for designing reforms.
International Monetary Fund
Government price subsidies are pervasive in developed, emerging, and low-income countries. A subsidy is a form of government intervention resulting in a deviation of an actual price facing consumers and producers from a specified benchmark price. Subsidies affect consumption and production patterns as well as the distribution of resources, with important implications for the budget, expenditure composition, and long-term growth. They can and often do involve fiscal costs, but not all affect government fiscal accounts in the same way. Price subsidies have spillover effects onto prices and quantities in domestic, regional, or global markets. This paper discusses the key issues and policy options in the reform of subsidies for fossil fuels and selected food commodities, and their implications for the work of the Fund.