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International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept

This Selected Issues paper describes the current tax system in Bhutan and suggests options for tax policy reform. Though significant hydropower revenues are expected in the medium term as major projects come on-stream, reforms to the existing tax system in the interim will generate fiscal room and prevent recourse to domestic debt to finance development needs. Key reforms include reducing tax exemptions in the near term and introduction of value-added tax in the medium term. The paper also analyzes the adequacy of international reserves in Bhutan using a customized risk-weighted metric. The results indicate that Bhutan’s reserve levels are ample.

International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept

This 2014 Article IV Consultation highlights that the GDP growth in Bhutan has slowed from about 10 percent in FY2011 (July 1–June 30) to 5 percent in FY2013. Slower growth reflects policy efforts to contain overheating pressures in the form of restrictions on credit for construction and vehicle. Inflation has remained elevated, tracking closely that of India (Bhutan’s main trading partner). Social development indicators have improved steadily, and Bhutan is on track or has achieved most of its Millennium Development Goals. Growth is projected to recover to 6½ percent in FY2014, driven mainly by a pick-up in hydropower-related construction activities and domestic services.

Mr. Christian H. Beddies, Ms. Marie-Helene Le Manchec, and Ms. Bergljot B Barkbu

Abstract

Low-income countries continue to face significant challenges in meeting their vast development needs while maintaining a sustainable debt position, even after many of these countries have benefited from substantial debt relief. These challenges are further exacerbated by changes in the financial landscape, including the emergence of new creditors and investors, the use of more complex financing vehicles, and the development of domestic markets. The joint World Bank/IMF debt sustainability framework is well placed to help address these challenges and reduce the risks of renewed episodes of debt distress. This paper explains the analytical underpinnings of the framework and the means to ensure its full effectiveness.

PIERRE DHONTE

there has been considerable concern in recent years that a number of developing countries might, under current trends in the volume and terms of new lending, be faced with situations in which the service of external debt would absorb a rising proportion of new borrowings to a point where doubt might arise as to the overall feasibility of the borrowing process. This is only one of the types of debt problem that the comprehensive analytical efforts of the last few years have identified;1 it is probably one that is not infrequently met.

Thomas M. Klein

This paper focuses on the subject of development and income distribution, and suggests a method whereby economic development can be skewed in favor of the poor. The paper underscores that improvements in the distribution of income can be achieved by applying shadow cost significantly below money cost to determine the social cost of employing members of low-income groups and to use the social consolidation strategy in the choice of technology in the physical construction of projects. The application of this method would result in the more extensive use of labor instead of capital equipment.

Mr. Hassanali Mehran

The global trade negotiations and use of fiscal measures to stimulate savings in developing countries are discussed. The four main elements of the global trading system likely to be at issue in the new round include nondiscrimination and the distinction between border and nonborder measures. Capital markets in developing countries are small, and the scope for diversification of financial institutions and financial instruments or assets is limited. The distinction between border and nonborder measures is blurred in the increased international concern with so-called unfair trade practices.

Helen Hughes

This article, based on a World Bank study, reviews the extent and the nature of the debt problem in the developing countries, and looks at the implications of the present situation for future borrowers and lenders. The author concludes that, with appropriate debt management policies, the debt situation of the developing countries is manageable. She stresses the need to rely on in-depth analyses of individual countries, rather than aggregate reviews of the debt situation.

Mr. Ulrich Baumgartner, Mr. G. G. Johnson, K. Burke Dillon, R. C. Williams, Mr. Peter M Keller, Maria Tyler, Bahram Nowzad, Mr. G. Russell Kincaid, and Mr. Tomás Reichmann

Abstract

The external indebtedness of non-oil developing countries has been of growing concern in recent years. Several factors have brought the debt issue to the forefront of the problems facing a number of countries, including the rapid rise in extenal debt in the recent past, changes in the composition of debt (toward a greater proportion owed to commercial banks) and the attendant deterioration in the terms of debt, and the rise in debt service resulting from these developments.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
This paper focuses on currency convertibility and the exchange rate system. The paper explains some of the factors involved in extending the freedom of currency convertibility, one of the IMF’s principal policy aims. It highlights that the IMF’s Articles of Agreement make the distinction between currency convertibility for residents and for nonresidents, but make it an obligation in principle to avoid restrictions on current payments of both categories. The paper also discusses management in developing countries as well as the link between growth and structural change.