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International Monetary Fund

This Selected Economic Issues paper for Bosnia and Herzegovina reports that output, exports, and incomes have increased and inflation has stabilized. New modern banking laws have been passed in both entities, and the banking sector has been almost completely privatized, with the majority of assets now under foreign ownership. The reforms to the central bank and to the banking system have been aimed to secure stability and to build an efficient financial system.

International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This 2019 Article IV Consultation with the Dominican Republic discusses that the economy rebounded to a record high growth of 7 percent in 2018, with the positive momentum carrying into early 2019. The strong economic and policy performance has strengthened resilience to downside risks, but vulnerabilities remain. The fiscal position is under moderate sustainability and affordability pressures; key structural bottlenecks have not been addressed; and social outcomes can be further strengthened. Upcoming elections in 2020 are likely to dominate the near-term policy landscape. The outlook is favorable, with growth moderating to potential, inflation picking up toward target with fading supply shocks, and the external position normalizing. Risks are moderate and balanced: on the upside, solid income and credit growth could sustain domestic demand, while on the downside external risks are building up. Tighter fiscal policies are warranted by demand, sustainability and affordability considerations. A frontloaded adjustment, anchored on widening the tax base and mindful of the distributional effects of the adjustment measures, would help reverse the upward debt dynamics.
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.
Miss Saadia Refaqat
This paper analyses the social incidence of the general sales tax (GST) in Pakistan. The main finding of the study is that contrary to widespread perception, the social incidence of the GST in Pakistan is slightly progressive. The main reason for this counterintuitive result is that most items heavily consumed by the poor are exempt from GST in Pakistan.
Jiaxiong Yao
Past studies on the relationship between electricity consumption and temperature have primarily focused on individual countries. Many regions are understudied as a result of data constraint. This paper studies the relationship on a global scale, overcoming the data constraint by using grid-level night light and temperature data. Mostly generated by electricity and recorded by satellites, night light has a strong linear relationship with electricity consumption and is correlated with both its extensive and intensive margins. Using night light as a proxy for electricity consumption at the grid level, we find: (1) there is a U-shaped relationship between electricity consumption and temperature; (2) the critical point of temperature for minimum electricity consumption is around 14.6°C for the world and it is higher in urban and more industrial areas; and (3) the impact of temperature on electricity consumption is persistent. Sub-Saharan African countries, while facing a large electricity deficit already, are particularly vulnerable to climate change: a 1°C increase in temperature is estimated to increase their electricity demand by 6.7% on average.
John E. Besant-Jones and Bernard Tenenbaum

For the latest thinking about the international financial system, monetary policy, economic development, poverty reduction, and other critical issues, subscribe to Finance & Development (F&D). This lively quarterly magazine brings you in-depth analyses of these and other subjects by the IMF’s own staff as well as by prominent international experts. Articles are written for lay readers who want to enrich their understanding of the workings of the global economy and the policies and activities of the IMF.

International Monetary Fund

This Selected Issues paper analyzes the sources of recent growth in Tajikistan. It concludes that economic growth has been mainly driven by the services sector and a surge in remittances that have been mainly used for private consumption and small-scale private investment. The paper summarizes the recently introduced revisions to the Tax Code, which are an evolutionary step in simplifying the tax system and setting the base for better revenue administration. It also examines the likely impact on households of increasing electricity prices to cost-recovery levels.

DOUGLAS F. BARNES, ROBERT VAN DER PLAS, and WILLEM FLOOR

For the latest thinking about the international financial system, monetary policy, economic development, poverty reduction, and other critical issues, subscribe to Finance & Development (F&D). This lively quarterly magazine brings you in-depth analyses of these and other subjects by the IMF’s own staff as well as by prominent international experts. Articles are written for lay readers who want to enrich their understanding of the workings of the global economy and the policies and activities of the IMF.