Randal Quarles, Mark Siegel, Agustin Carstens, and Mr. Krishna Srinivasan
The IMF’s proposal for a Sovereign Debt Restructuring Mechanism (SDRM) to improve the way countries’ unsustainable debt is restructured continues to generate heated debate as time draws near for its consideration at the spring meetings of the IMF’s International Monetary and Financial Committee. In an effort to further spell out the proposal, the IMF hosted a conference on January 22 to exchange views with the private sector, emerging markets, nongovernmental organizations, legal experts, and academics. Participants generally agreed that something needed to be done about unsustainable sovereign debt and they welcomed the IMF’s consultative approach, but they differed sharply on solutions. What follows is coverage of that conference, along with excerpts from a speech by Jack Boorman, Special Advisor to the IMF’s Managing Director, and coverage of an IMF training seminar on the SDRM held on January 6 by Peter Kenen of Princeton university.
Afghanistan’s development, humanitarian, and governance challenges are formidable. Afghanistan is in its transition to become self-reliant. To achieve this goal, the government requires donor support. The IMF-supported economic program tries to address key macroeconomic challenges and seeks to safeguard the financial sector. The authorities have broadly met their program objectives, but their implementation suffered from delays. The authorities have now initiated an asset recovery process for each Kabul Bank beneficiary. The Executive Board has agreed to the authorities’ request for a waiver.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
In a news brief dated February 15, the IMF announced it had established a section on its public website (www.imf.org/hrd/index.htm) dedicated to highlighting guidelines and issues related to staff ethics, financial disclosure, and dispute resolution.
This paper focuses on Ukraine’s tax administration reforms and governance options. The main purpose of this paper is to develop enhancing measures to support Ministry of Revenue and Duties in meeting government’s commitments under IMF program. This paper recommends to cease revenue deferral arising from trivial tax disputes by requiring at least a partial payment of disputed tax before the appeal goes forward; collect tax arrears by promoting installment arrangements that fit the crisis conditions; strengthen routine monitoring of filing and payment obligations to control tax discipline; and make mandatory that largest taxpayers deal with their tax affairs at the large taxpayer inspectorate offices instead of local offices.
This Technical Assistance Report discusses several tax administration issues and high-level recommendations for the reform agenda. The General Directorate of Taxes (GDT) continues to make good progress in modernizing its administration of the taxation system. A program to consolidate some core functions into fewer regional locations, beginning with the arrears collection function, should be accelerated. The GDT’s increased use of electronic services and telephone contact centers reduces the need for face-to-face contact with taxpayers. The GDT must have access to a broader range of third-party information, and data-warehouse facilities to manage the risk assessment with automated analytical tools. There are some positive developments in the audit function; however, further capacity building is necessary. A new comprehensive desk audit manual has been developed, which will help to standardize operations and provide more appropriate case allocation based on auditor experience and skills.
This Technical Assistance paper discusses key findings of the assessment of the tax administration system in Georgia. Viewed overall, the Georgia Revenue Service is making good progress in implementing modern tax administration practices. Particularly evident is the innovative use of new technology in modernizing current operations. International good practices are already in place in a number of areas. For others, implementation of good practices is progressing; in some cases it has yet to be adopted. Many of the weaknesses identified in this assessment can be rectified relatively quickly, and in some areas, small changes can make a big difference to outcomes.
This paper discusses the recent major reforms in the area of civil and commercial claims enforcement undertaken by the Portuguese authorities in the context of the IMF/EU-supported adjustment program. The economic literature has long recognized that slow claims enforcement affects economic growth, foreign direct investment, credit and labor markets, and firm size. The Portuguese authorities together with IMF/EU staff deployed a novel approach that has focused on incentives tackling weaknesses in the enforcement process with the aim of increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of claims enforcement and resolving court backlogs. The paper finds impressive quantifiable changes affecting, in particular, court backlog reduction, court processing speed, and private debt recovery. The economic literature suggests that this will impact positively on the payment culture and overall growth, even if such impact cannot be determined at this stage.
Gianluca Esposito, Mr. Sergi Lanau, and Sebastiaan Pompe
The inefficiency of the Italian judicial system has contributed to reduced investments, slow growth and a difficult business environment. The enforcement of civil and commercial claims suffers from excessive delays in court proceedings, resulting in a very large number of pending cases. The Italian authorities have over the years taken steps to remove bottlenecks and speed up judicial proceedings. While these measures are generally steps in the right direction, more can be done. Consideration could be given, inter alia, to reviewing court fees, improving the new mandatory mediation scheme, strengthening court management, and reforming the appeal system.
This paper discusses that during 2000–2002, the Tribunal considered a number of issues of substantive law upon which it had not previously been called upon to rule. These included interpretation of a provision of the IMF’s Staff Retirement Plan that permits the IMF, pursuant to specified procedures, to give effect to orders for family support and division of marital property issued by domestic courts. Having the benefit of the extensive pleadings of all three parties, the Tribunal rendered a decision resolving the merits of the dispute. The Tribunal considered the evidence offered by the IMF in support of the differential in benefits between the two categories of staff and concluded that the distinction was rationally related to the purposes of the employment benefits at issue. Tribunal also grappled during 2000–2002 with the complexities of its relationship to other elements of the IMF’s dispute resolution system. The IMFAT addressed the question of the admissibility before the Tribunal of an Application following dismissal of the complaint as untimely by the IMF’s Grievance Committee.