International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This Selected Issues paper studies the inefficiencies related to the electricity sector and assesses the potential impact of the 2019 reform plan. Electricity shortages are the second constraint to competitiveness reported by businesses in Lebanon, based on the Enterprise Survey conducted by the World Bank. Lebanon’s electricity sector performance is worse than other similar countries in the region. Many businesses must rely on costly private generators. Income inequalities are exacerbated by both the geographical disparities in Electricité du Liban’s (EdL) electricity provision and its tariff structure. The most vulnerable households are the small consumers located in regions with little electricity provision from EdL. A new electricity plan was approved by Cabinet on April 9, 2019 and ratified by Parliament on April 17, 2019. Although it is critical that the plan is decisively implemented, it is also important that it is enhanced further to fully restore EdL’s viability. Introducing well-targeted measures, such as cash transfers, would help protect the most vulnerable households from the tariff increase. As planned in the reform package, consumer tariffs should be indexed on the evolution of input prices to guarantee that it will not be negatively impacted by future developments in fuel or gas prices.
KEY ISSUES • The Comorian economy continues to grow although at a slightly slower pace. Economic growth in 2014 is projected at 3.3 percent, adversely affected by electricity disruptions and slower-than-expected implementation of the public investment program. Inflation has remained subdued. Staffs’ baseline assumption is that real GDP growth will average around 4 percent per annum over the medium term, provided reforms are implemented. • Implementation of the 2014 budget was challenging, particularly after mid-year. While revenues were broadly on target, resources were inadequate to meet the higher- than-budgeted wage bill resulting from an increase in teacher salaries in March and previously un-budgeted expenditures, including on elections. Domestically-financed investment spending was severely constrained and temporary arrears were incurred on salaries and external debt. • The key short-term challenge is to find a better balance between available resources and expenditures so that arrears can be avoided. Spending plans need to be based on realistic expectations of the resources likely to be available. The 2015 budget is premised on this principle but the scope for domestically-financed investment is inadequate as obligatory spending on wages and salaries and debt service absorbs most of domestic revenue. • For the medium-term the key challenges are to create fiscal space for infrastructure investment and social spending, accelerate inclusive growth and employment generation, and reduce poverty. The authorities need to focus their efforts on strengthening revenue administration and public financial management to expand fiscal space and improve transparency. Weaknesses in the business environment, including inadequate infrastructure, especially in the energy sector, and difficulties in contract enforcement represent important challenges.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This Selected Issues paper looks at the factors behind the accumulation of cash positions by Canadian nonfinancial corporations. Focusing only on listed firms and running a model of changes in cash holdings suggest that greater macroeconomic and business uncertainty may have induced firms to raise the cash buffer at their disposal over the last decade. This is especially the case for firms in the energy and mining sector, which account for the majority of cash accumulation in the sample used in current analysis. The analysis also shows that firms’ high cash balances are typically associated with higher levels of capital expenditure, which bodes well for the acceleration of business investment in the near future.
The economic slowdown as a result of the global crisis has been severe, and the recovery has not yet taken hold. Despite ample buffers, including large fiscal space and strong international reserves, the policy response to the crisis has been constrained. Inflation has resurfaced as a concern after falling to a historical low in 2009, but the data are misleading. The monetary policy stance has been generally supportive but ineffective in the context of large excess liquidity. Medium-term growth prospects depend on the energy sector outlook.
Equatorial Guinea has recorded one of Africa’s fastest growth rates, as its petroleum industry has expanded and strengthened the country’s economic and fiscal sustainability. Executive Directors endorsed the National Development Plan to enhance productivity and achieve the MDGs. Directors stressed the need for strong macroeconomic policies and structural measures in safeguarding competitiveness and supported the adoption of a fiscal policy guided by a reduction in the non-oil primary fiscal deficit. They welcomed the creation of a Social Needs Fund and a national Financial Stability Assessment Program (FSAP) to complement the findings of the regional FSAP.
This paper evaluates a fiscal scenario based on the assumption of a rapid scaling-up of expenditure to be followed by a rapid scaling-down in the context of Azerbaijan's current temporary oil production boom. To this end, it relies on a review of historical precedents and a neoclassical growth model. Based on both strands of analysis, the paper suggests that the evaluated fiscal scenario poses significant risks to growth sustainability.
This 2004 Article IV Consultation highlights that Trinidad and Tobago’s economy, which is endowed with large energy reserves, is experiencing a strong energy sector-based expansion owing to increased output and high international prices. The energy sector already accounts for about 40 percent of GDP, 83 percent of domestic goods exports, and slightly more than 40 percent of government revenue. The balance of payments recorded an increased surplus in 2003, despite large capital outflows, reflecting the strong performance of the energy sector.