Asia and Pacific > Marshall Islands, Republic of the

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International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
The 2023 Article IV Consultation discusses that the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) is in the midst of a post-pandemic recovery. Real GDP declined by 4.5 percent in the fiscal year ending September 2022 due to lower fisheries production arising from the sale of a fishing vessel by a domestic operator. Growth is expected to strengthen to 3 percent over FY2023-24 as performance in the fisheries sector improves, with construction activity supported by the resumption of donor-financed projects and preparations for the 2024 Micronesian Games. Inflation is expected to moderate as commodity prices ease and supply disruptions recede. The current account surplus is expected to narrow further as coronavirus disease-related grants expire, though improved export performance is expected to lead to a narrowing of the trade deficit. The medium-term outlook is contingent on the successful renewal of the Compact of Free Association agreement with the United States. A new agreement would strengthen the RMI’s fiscal and external positions while in its absence, the fiscal and current account balances are expected to slip into deficit over the medium term. Risks are tilted to the downside, reflecting the RMI’s geographical isolation and vulnerability to climate change.
Mouhamadou Sy, Mr. Andrew Beaumont, Enakshi Das, Mr. Georg Eysselein, Mr. David Kloeden, and Katrina R Williams
Pacific Island Countries (PICs) face daunting spending needs related to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and adapting to the effects of climate change. Boosting tax revenues will need to be an essential pillar in creating the fiscal space to meet SDG and climate-adaptation spending needs. This paper assesses the additional tax revenue that PICs could potentially collect and discusses policy options to achieve such gains. The main objectives of the paper are to (1) review the critical medium-term development spending requirements and available financing options, (2) document the main stylized facts about tax revenues in the PICs and estimate the additional tax revenue that countries could raise, (3) highlight the main bottlenecks preventing the PICs from further increasing their tax revenue collection with an emphasis on weaknesses in VAT systems, (4) draw lessons from successful emerging and developing countries that have managed to substantially and durably increased their tax revenues, and (5) propose tax policy and revenue administration reform priorities for Pacific Island Countries to boost tax revenues. The paper’s main findings are (1) The current revenue mix is skewed toward non-tax revenues, (2) PICs could collect an additional 3 percent of tax revenue in the short to medium term, (3) Many bottlenecks are preventing the PICs from boosting their tax revenue collection, and (4) The potential offered by efficient VAT systems is not fully exploited. To increase tax revenue in the Pacific Islands, the paper proposes the following reforms: (1) unwinding recent fiscal relief measures, (2) strengthening or introducing a VAT system; (3) rationalizing tax exemptions, (4) closing loopholes in the tax system, (5) reforming tax administration, and (6) introducing a medium-term revenue strategy.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
Strong and timely containment measures have successfully prevented a domestic COVID-19 outbreak but have also weighed on economic activity. The real GDP is estimated to have contracted by 3.3 percent in FY2020 and is projected to further decline by another 1.5 percent in FY 2021 due to continued travel restrictions. Economic activity is expected to pick up in FY2022, as COVID-related restrictions will be relaxed gradually. The government is currently negotiating the renewal of Compact of Free Association (COFA) financial provisions with the United States, but terms remain uncertain. The government is considering to repeal the SOV Act and a bill on establishing a Digital Economic Zone was submitted to the Parliament recently.
Hidetaka Nishizawa, Mr. Scott Roger, and Huan Zhang
Pacific island countries (PICs) are vulnerable severe natural disasters, especially cyclones, inflicting large losses on their economies. In the aftermath of disasters, PIC governments face revenue losses and spending pressures to address post-disaster relief and recovery efforts. This paper estimates the effects of severe natural disasters on fiscal revenues and expenditure in PICs. These are combined with information on the frequency of large disasters to calculate the rate of budgetary savings needed to build appropriate fiscal buffers. Fiscal buffers provide self-insurance against natural disaster shocks and facilitate quick disbursement for recovery and relief efforts, and protection of spending on essential services and infrastructure. The estimates can provide a benchmark for policymakers, and should be adjusted to take into account other sources of financing, as well as budget risks from less severe as well as more frequent disasters.
International Monetary Fund. Fiscal Affairs Dept., International Monetary Fund. Strategy, Policy, &, and Review Department
This Supplement presents an account of the extensive consultations and the results of various analyses that supported the development of “A Strategy for IMF Engagement on Social Spending.”
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This 2018 Article IV Consultation highlight that growth in the Marshallese economy is estimated to have accelerated to about 3.5 percent in FY2017 (ending September 30) with a strong pick-up in fisheries and construction, with the latter owing to the resumption of infrastructure projects. Consumer prices started to rise again in mid-2017, with annual consumer price index inflation at 1.1 percent in 2017Q4. Growth is expected to remain robust at about 2.5 percent in FY2018 and about 1.5 percent over the medium term, underpinned by further increases in infrastructure spending. Inflation is expected to rise gradually to about 2 percent over the medium term.