International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office
The Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) evaluation on International Reserves: IMF Concerns and Country Perspectives was discussed by the Board in December 2012. This evaluation examined the IMF’s analysis of the effect of reserves on the stability of the international monetary system and its advice on reserve adequacy assessments in the context of bilateral surveillance. In the multilateral context, the evaluation acknowledged the IMF’s broader work stream on the international monetary system but noted that this work had not sufficiently informed the analysis and recommendations regarding reserves. The IEO evaluation of The Role of the IMF as Trusted Advisor was discussed by the Board in February 2013. This evaluation found that perceptions of the IMF had improved, but that they varied markedly by region and country type. Recognizing that there will always be an inherent tension between the IMF’s roles as a global watchdog and as a trusted advisor to member country authorities, the evaluation report explored how the IMF could sustain the more positive image it had achieved in the aftermath of the recent global crisis. The evaluation found that among key challenges facing the IMF were improving the value added and relevance of IMF advice and overcoming the perception of a lack of even-handedness.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
KEY ISSUES Context. Georgia’s previous Fund-supported program, which expired in April 2014, met most of its objectives, in particular by reducing Georgia’s external and fiscal imbalances. The program also helped preserve the central bank’s independence after the 2012–13 political transition and strengthened its inflation-targeting framework. However, over time it proved increasingly difficult to reconcile the program’s fiscal objectives with the new government’s policies of increasing social spending, especially after the economy slowed and revenues fell short in 2013. Also, despite the progress achieved under the program, macroeconomic challenges remain. The current account deficit and external debt are high, leaving the economy susceptible to shocks. Strong and inclusive growth is needed to reduce widespread poverty and high unemployment. More recently, the external outlook has worsened, opening up a balance of payments need in 2014. Program and its objectives. To address these challenges, the authorities request a new three-year SDR 100 million (67 percent of quota) Stand-by Arrangement to address an external financing need in 2014 related in part to the realignment of fiscal policies to more social spending. The program will facilitate Georgia’s external adjustment, reduce key macroeconomic vulnerabilities, rebuild policy buffers, and support growth. Program policies. In 2014, the program balances supporting domestic demand with the need to safeguard external stability. To reduce the output gap, fiscal policy provides a measured stimulus, while monetary policy remains accommodative. However, the authorities will tighten policies and allow the exchange rate to adjust if balance of payments pressures were to intensify. From 2015, the fiscal deficit will be reduced to keep public debt low and to create space for countercyclical policies. This consolidation will rely on raising revenue by broadening the tax base and containing current expenditure, while protecting pro-poor spending and public investment. Monetary policy will aim at price stability through improved inflation targeting. The program will seek to rebuild international reserves while encouraging greater exchange rate flexibility. Strengthening of the financial sector will continue, helped by the recommendations of the recent FSAP mission. The program also aims to contain risks from quasi-fiscal activities and support improvements in tax administration, and will complement the authorities’ reforms to strengthen the business environment, improve education and training, create jobs and reduce poverty and inequality.
Real GDP growth in Georgia has been slow since the Russian crisis, but there are signs of more vigorous growth, despite weak external demand. The paper discusses administrative corruption, state capture, influence, and tax policy formulation. The trends of total social expenditure in relation to fiscal adjustment have been analyzed and discussed in the context of Georgia's poverty reduction strategy. Banking sector reforms and financial development, dollarization, the energy sector, and statistical data of economic indices of Georgia are also presented.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
Following are edited extracts of an address by IMF Managing Director Michel Camdessus at the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Frankfurt on October 11. The full text is available on the IMF’s website (www.imf.org).
Mr. Jonathan C Dunn, Mr. Andreas Billmeier, and Mr. Bert van Selm
Starting in 2005, nontax revenue in Georgia is expected to rise significantly, in the form of transit fees for oil transported through the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Oil Pipeline. Transit fees for gas transported through the South Caucasus Pipeline are expected to start in 2007. This paper discusses (1) how much additional revenue can be expected, (2) prospects for monetizing gas that could be received as in-kind transit fees, in the light of pervasive nonpayment in the domestic gas sector, (3) the impact of these inflows on external competitiveness, (4) how to put in place appropriate reporting on these additional revenues, and (5) whether these inflows justify the creation of a special natural resource fund.
Structural policies have become a prominent feature of today’s macroeconomic policy discussion. For many countries, lackluster economic growth and high unemployment cloud the outlook. With fewer traditional policy options, policymakers are increasingly focused on the complementary role of structural policies in promoting more durable job-rich growth. In particular, the G20 has emphasized the essential role of structural reforms in ensuring strong, sustainable and balanced growth.
Against this backdrop, the 2014 Triennial Surveillance Review (TSR) called for further work to enhance the Fund’s ability to selectively provide more expert analysis and advice on structural issues, particularly where there is broad interest among member countries. The purpose of this paper is to engage the Board on staff’s post-TSR work toward strengthening the Fund’s capacity to analyze and, where relevant, offer policy advice on macro-relevant structural issues.
As a companion piece to the Board paper on Structural Reforms and Macroeconomic Performance: Initial Considerations for the Fund, this paper presents a selection of case studies on the structural reform experiences of member countries. These papers update the Board on work since the Triennial Surveillance Review toward strengthening the Fund’s capacity to analyze and, where relevant, offer policy advice on macro-relevant structural issues. The paper builds on the already considerable analytical work underway across the Fund, setting out considerations to support a more strategic approach going forward.