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International Monetary Fund

This Selected Issues paper and Statistical Appendix presents a number of studies designed to probe in more depth issues of fiscal adjustment, the public sector’s creditworthiness as judged by foreign lenders, and the banking system in Greece. The paper highlights that fiscal adjustment in Greece has followed a gradual path, relying to a significant extent on revenue enhancement and eschewing primary expenditure reduction. The paper also examines the evolution and tax determinants of the most widely followed indicator of the health and competitiveness of a banking system—the lending-deposit spread.

International Monetary Fund
This report examines the Observance of Standards and Codes on Fiscal Transparency for Spain. The assessment reveals that over the last several years, Spain has made major progress not only in macroeconomic and fiscal adjustment, but also in modernizing and strengthening its fiscal institutions and in disseminating information about the government’s operations. As a result, it now fully meets or exceeds the IMF Code of Good Practices on Fiscal Transparency standards in many areas. There remain, nevertheless, certain aspects in which further progress would be desirable.
International Monetary Fund. Fiscal Affairs Dept.
This paper discusses various public finance management reforms required for state-owned enterprises (SOEs), which is high priority of the government. High levels of direct and indirect state support are adding to the significant risks emanating from the SOE sector, a problem that is being exacerbated by the severe economic situation. There is a need to establish proper corporate governance arrangements through improving performance management frameworks and making SEOs accountable for poor performance, and reinforcing financial and fiscal discipline. Establishing independent Boards of Directors to perform stewardship and oversight function for public sector entities and improving transparency and reporting to the parliament and general public should form the cornerstone of the reform strategy for all SEOs.
International Monetary Fund
This paper presents an Update to the Report on the Observance of Standards and Codes (ROSC) on Fiscal Transparency for the Slovak Republic. The 2003 ROSC update noted important further progress by Slovakia in bringing fiscal transparency close to international best practice, including by improving the coverage and availability of fiscal information; advancing work on international reporting standards; and improving the reporting of contingent liabilities and expenditure arrears. The government has clarified financial relations with state-owned enterprises, applying an ex ante dividend policy in preparing the public administration budget for 2005–07.
Mr. Ian Lienert
The boundary between the public and private sectors can be defined on the basis of ownership of institutional units. Nonmarket government-owned entities and corporations that are owned or controlled by government units belong to the public sector. “Economic ownership” is more important than majority ownership. Joint ventures, public-private partnerships, and social insurance funds (including for public employees) can be unambiguously allocated to the public or private sector on the basis of international public sector accounting standards. Boundary problems within the public sector are just as acute as those between the public and private sectors, mainly because of ambiguities in distinguishing “market” from “nonmarket” activities.
International Monetary Fund
In many countries, the activities of public enterprises have an important fiscal impact. While the precise nature of this impact is often obscured, it is important that it be reflected in measures of overall fiscal activity. The paper is intended to raise and clarify some of the issues involved in this task.
Bobana Cegar and Mr. Francisco J Parodi
Based on a new database of State-Owned Enterprise (SOE) financial statements, we find that SOEs in Bosnia and Herzegovina are mostly in poor financial shape. We estimate the overall size and composition of the SOE sector, and identify individual companies that affect fiscal and macroeconomic performance. Financial analysis suggests that SOEs are not contributing enough to the economy. We also review the SOE governance framework and find that governments do not exercise their ownership function in line with WB/OECD guidelines. Reforms to the governance frameworks are necessary to foster transparency and improve accountability. More fundamental reform of the SOE sector might increase overall GDP by 3 percent per year.