Ms. Anja Baum, Clay Hackney, Paulo Medas, and Mouhamadou Sy
State-owned enterprises (SOEs) are present in key sectors of the economies around the world. While they can provide an important public service, there is widespread concern that their activities are negatively affected by corruption. However, there is limited cross-country analysis on the costs of corruption for SOEs. We present new evidence on how corruption affects the performance of SOEs using firm level data across a large number of countries. One striking result is that SOEs perform as well as private firms in core sectors when corruption is low. Taking advantage of a novel database reforms, we also show that SOE governance reforms can generate significant performance gains.
Energy Subsidy Reform is a key pillar of Colombia’s national development plan. Rising fiscal challenges in Colombia—which have been exacerbated by the adjustment costs associated with recent large migration flows from Venezuela—can risk derailing the government from their commitment to meet both its headline deficit target of 2.4 percent in 2019 and its structural deficit target by 2022, under the existing fiscal rule. The government is committed to embark on a reform strategy that aims at safeguarding the fiscal framework. Energy subsidy reform is one element of the government’s strategy to address fiscal pressures. It is also consistent with efforts to enhance spending efficiency and free up additional fiscal resources for development needs, in line with the recommendations made by the expert commission on spending.
This paper on Colombia focuses on reforming energy pricing. Rising fiscal challenges in Colombia can risk derailing the government from their commitment to meet both its headline deficit target of 2.4 percent in 2019 and its structural deficit target by 2022, under the existing fiscal rule. The government is committed to embark on a reform strategy that aims at safeguarding the fiscal framework. Energy subsidy reform is one element of the government’s strategy to address fiscal pressures. Carefully designed reforms entail a gradual phasing out of subsidies in the case of fuel products and, in the case of electricity, an improvement in the targeting over the medium term. Illustrative simulations presented in this report highlight the fiscal and distributional impacts of different reform options. Simulations show that net fiscal gains could be achieved both for electricity and fuel products, while reducing distortions. The mission identified reform options to reduce energy subsidies while at the same time improve their targeting. The approach differs across sectors.
This Selected Issues paper for the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is examined. Real GDP growth accelerated to 5 percent in 2007 and 6 percent in the first half of 2008, from its historical average of about 3 percent. Increased investment, partly financed by FDI, is the main driver boosting domestic demand, as seen in the fast-growing import of investment and intermediate goods. Simultaneously, the current account deficit has widened substantially since 2007 and has become a major concern for macroeconomic stability.
Quasi-fiscal deficits of public utility companies are common in all member countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). They constitute a significant impediment to efficient resource allocation and endanger macroeconomic stability. This paper presents a simple framework for measuring and monitoring such deficits and highlights their macroeconomic relevance. It reviews the progress under IMF conditionality aimed at correcting these imbalances during 1993-2003. The paper suggests that the extensive conditionality under the IMF-supported programs has yielded only limited progress in reducing the energy sector's financial imbalances. In conclusion, different policy options are discussed in light of the lessons learned.
Mr. Clinton R. Shiells, Mr. John R Dodsworth, and Mr. Paul Henri Mathieu
This paper explores from a regional perspective the distorted nature of trade in energy products within the CIS countries. The persistence of pricing distortions, barter arrangements, and discriminatory access to pipelines, as well as failure to honor contracts, has disrupted and distorted energy exports to non-CIS countries, undermined energy sector reforms, and distorted investment decisions. The paper focuses on cross-border issues as an integral component of the wider problem of inefficient energy use within the CIS. Several policy recommendations are proposed, including measures to foster greater competition, reduce state involvement, and promote regional cooperation.
Mr. Aleh Tsyvinski, Mr. Martin Petri, and Mr. Günther Taube
A decade into the transition, many of the successor states of the former Soviet Union (FSU) continue to use energy sector quasi-fiscal activities (QFAs), especially low energy prices and the toleration of payment arrears, to provide large implicit and untargeted subsidies. These activities disguise the overall size of the government, cause overconsumption and waste, and contribute to macroeconomic imbalances. This paper analyses such activities in FSU countries, with particular emphasis on two case studies (Azerbaijan and Ukraine). The paper's policy conclusions point to the need to increase energy prices, combined with a strengthening of safety nets to protect the poor, better enforcement of payment discipline, and more efforts to achieve fiscal transparency.