Asia and Pacific > Timor-Leste, Democratic Republic of

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Ablam Estel Apeti, Olivier Basdevant, and Ms. Veronique Salins
This paper investigates the performance of fiscal rules in resource-rich countries (RRC). Using panel data for 57 commodity exporting countries from 1976 to 2021, we find that fiscal rules: (i) reduce the procyclicality of real public expenditures with terms of trade in oil exporting countries, and (ii) improve non-resource primary balances in all RRC, especially during terms of trade upturns. The rules’ design matters. Addressing the procyclicality of public expenditures with terms-of-trade can be achieved with expenditure rules, and, for oil-exporters, revenue rules (althoug limited data on the latter calls for taking the results cautiously). To improve non-resource fiscal balances, debt rules and fiscal balance rules are shown to have a positive impact, especially in oil exporting countries. We further investigate the effect of fiscal rules and other features of the fiscal framework through case studies (for Botswana, Mongolia, and Timor-Leste). These cases highlight that even when fiscal rules are not fully complied with, they lead to some degree of fiscal discipline. The case studies also highlight the importance of the quality of fiscal frameworks: frequent revisions, lack of compliance or low stringency of the rules can significantly hamper their effectiveness.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
Timor-Leste has made impressive strides in economic development and institution building. Yet, it is a low-income and fragile country with pressing development needs. A large fraction of the population faces chronic food insecurity, and significant gaps exist in health, education, and infrastructure. With active oil fields nearly depleted, little progress has been made in diversification while fiscal sustainability is at high risk. Higher food and oil prices are fueling higher inflation, exacerbated by political spending pressures ahead of the general elections in 2023.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
Although Timor-Leste has made considerable progress in many areas since its independence in 2002, it faces significant medium-term challenges. The nation has pressing development needs, young institutions, and is highly dependent on oil. Oil revenues from active fields, which have been the main source of funding for government spending, are drying up. The non-oil private sector economy remains underdeveloped and lack of good jobs and high youth unemployment are serious concerns.
International Monetary Fund. Strategy, Policy, & Review Department
At the time of the 2005 Review of the Fund’s Transparency Policy, the Executive Board required regular updates on trends in implementing the transparency policy. This report provides an overview of recent developments, reflecting information on documents considered by the Board in 2019 and their respective publication status up to June 2020, and updating the previous annual report on Key Trends.