This Technical Assistance report discusses options to revamp the 2013 Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA), taking into account the challenges posed by the current context in Maldives. The government has not met the FRA’s numerical targets for fiscal deficits and public debt. In order to ensure fiscal sustainability and enhance transparency, the Maldivian authorities are committed to introducing a new FRA in 2021. The Government needs firm and credible targets for debt and fiscal deficits in its debt-reduction efforts; however, past experiences of noncompliance with the numerical fiscal rules has undermined its credibility. A principles-based approach, accompanied by strong accountability requirements, would provide the authorities with the flexibility to respond to adverse macroeconomic developments. The new FRA would clearly define the specific roles of Parliament and the Auditor General in the fiscal responsibility framework. This report suggests enhancing fiscal oversight by strengthening the role of Parliament and the Auditor General. The report also identifies several areas of public financial management that should be addressed in other PFM laws for the successful implementation of the new FRA.
Mercedes García-Escribano, Ms. Tewodaj Mogues, Mariano Moszoro, and Mauricio Soto
South Asia has experienced significant progress in improving human and physical capital over the past few decades. Within the region, India has become a global economic powerhouse with enormous development potential ahead. To foster human and economic development, India has shown a strong commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Agenda. This paper focuses on the medium-term development challenges that South Asia, and in particular India, faces to ensure substantial progress along the SDGs by 2030. We estimate the additional spending needed in critical areas of human capital (health and education) and physical capital (water and sanitation, electricity, and roads). We document progress on these five sectors for India relative to other South Asian countries and discuss implications for policy and reform.
The Maldives has identified the estimation and regular reporting of tax expenditures (TEs) as one of the top priority areas in continuing its tax modernization process. TEs are alternative policy tools (e.g., to direct transfers and other spending measures) in the form of provisions in the tax legislation that modify the tax liability of individuals or companies. The cost of TEs should be identified, measured, and publicly reported to improve transparency in fiscal management.
Ruchir Agarwal, Vybhavi Balasundharam, Patrick Blagrave, Mr. Eugenio M Cerutti, Ragnar Gudmundsson, and Racha Mousa
The South Asia region is both a large contributor to climate change and also one of the regions most vulnerable to climate change. This paper provides an overview of the region’s vulnerabilities, national committments to mitigate emissions, and national policies to adapt to a changing climate. The paper also discusses policy measures that may be needed to make further progress on both mitigation and adapatation. Our analysis suggests that while substantial progress is being made, there remains scope to adopt a more cohesive strategy to achieve the region’s goals—including by improving the monitoring and tracking of adaptation spending, and by laying the groundwork to equitably increase the effective price of carbon while protecting low-income and vulnerable households in the region.
Weicheng Lian, Fei Liu, Katsiaryna Svirydzenka, and Biying Zhu
While South Asia has gone a long way in diversifying their economies, there is substantial scope to do more. Some countries – India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka – can build on their existing production capabilities; others – Bangladesh, Bhutan, and the Maldives – would need to undertake a more concerted push. We identify key policies from a large set of potential determinants that explain the variation in export diversification and complexity across 189 countries from 1962 to 2018. Our analysis suggests that South Asia needs to invest in infrastructure, education, and R&D, facilitate bank credit to productive companies, and open to trade in order to diversify and move up the value chains. Given the COVID-19 pandemic, investing in digital technologies as part of the infrastructure push and improving education are of even greater importance to facilitate the ability to work remotely and assist resource reallocation away from the less viable sectors.