18. External Debt Monitoring Systems

International Monetary Fund
Published Date:
June 2003
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18.1 This chapter describes the debt recording systems of the Commonwealth Secretariat and the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) as at end-2000. Both systems are widely used and are designed to assist countries in capturing and storing instrument-by-instrument information in a computerized system. Both include features that can analyze the stored information.

Commonwealth Secretariat’s Debt Recording and Management System (CS-DRMS)

18.2 The CS-DRMS, first released in 1985, assists countries to record and manage debt by providing a comprehensive repository for external and domestic debt data, both public and private, on an instrument-by-instrument basis, as well as tools to analyze and manage the loan portfolios. It is regularly enhanced to reflect changes in instruments, creditor practices, debt reporting standards, and technology in order to represent best practice in debt-management. The main functions of the CS-DRMS are set out in Table 18.1.

Table 18.1.Major Functions of the Commonwealth Secretariat Debt Recording and Management System (CS-DRMS)
Debt RecordingDebt ReportingDebt AnalysisOther Functions
  • Maintain an inventory of all external and domestic debt instruments including:

    • — public debt and grants;

    • — short-term and private sector debt;

    • — restructuring agreements including rescheduling

  • Record basic details and terms on an instrument

  • Record other relevant debt-related information such as exchange rates, interest rates, and macroeconomic data

  • Forecast debt-service payments, both by instrument and in aggregate terms, with and without future disbursements

  • Record actual transactions of debt service and disbursements on a transaction-by-transaction basis

  • Identify loans in arrears and calculate penalty payments

  • Monitor loan and grant utilization and disbursements

  • Monitor government lending including on-lending

  • Provide information and reports on any group or class of instruments

  • Produce standard reports for various data requirements including government finance, balance of payments, and IIP

  • Provide easy generation of custom reports using a purpose-built report generator

  • Respond to specific user enquiries into the database

  • Perform sensitivity analysis on interest and exchange rate variations under various scenarios

  • Test the implications of new borrowings, based on different assumptions of currencies, interest, and repayment terms

  • Undertake debt sustainability analysis in conjunction with other packages such as the World Bank's DSM Plus

  • Evaluate different loan offers

  • Evaluate different proposals for refinancing and rescheduling of loans and compute debt relief

  • Combine CS-DRMS debt data with exogenous economic data to project critical debt indicators, both on nominal and a present value basis

  • Evaluate exposure to exchange and interest rate risk

  • Transfer debt data electronically to the World Bank's DRS, as well as to spreadsheets and other packages such as asset and liability management and government accounting systems

  • Browse CS-DRMS data using Debt Manager—a Windows-based add-on product developed for debt managers

  • Use validation utilities to ensure database integrity and accuracy

  • Integrate front, middle, and back office functions via the database and security management options

  • Perform housekeeping functions such as backup and restore and setting up modem access

Future Developments:

  • Web-enabled for on-line recording and reporting

  • Full accrual and market valuation computation

  • Contingent Liability Module

18.3 The CS-DRMS system is used in some 50 Commonwealth and non-Commonwealth countries, across 70 sites in ministries of finance and planning and central banks. It is provided as part of the Commonwealth Secretariat’s advisory services in debt and development resources management, which cover the following areas:

  • Strengthening the legal and institutional arrangements for contracting and managing debt;

  • Advice to governments in areas such as debt policy and strategy, debt restructuring, loan evaluation, and assistance in negotiations with creditors;

  • Assistance in debt data compilation and in the review of the quality of databases;

  • Capacity building through training courses and workshops in various areas of debt management as well as in the use of CS-DRMS; and

  • Development and maintenance of CS-DRMS, including user support.


18.4 The CS-DRMS is an integrated system that records various types of flows—external and domestic debt, grants and government lending—for day-to-day administration and management. It has a comprehensive External debt module that allows for the recording of a wide range of official and commercial instruments, including short-term and private sector debt; and a comprehensive Domestic debt module that allows for the recording of the full issuance cycle of domestic debt instruments such as treasury bills, bonds, and notes, and for the planning of issues, auctions, and analysis of bids. Both actual and forecasted transactions data as well as that on arrears are captured in a manner that meets the international external debt data guidelines. Also, there are comprehensive facilities within CS-DRMS to handle debt restructuring, including refinancing and Paris Club rescheduling.

18.5 The special Management tools module assists debt managers in debt strategy formulation and analysis, such as portfolio analysis, sensitivity testing for risk management, monitoring debt sustainability indicators, and other early warning signals. Also, there are extensive querying and reporting facilities, including over 60 standard reports, as well as a custom-built report generator that allows users to write their own reports quickly.

18.6 There are multilayer security features to meet individual country requirements, including the ability to configure access screens and reports to differentiate among front, middle, and back office functions.

Technological Characteristics

18.7 The CS-DRMS has a number of technical features to assist debt managers and compilers. For instance, the Loans Explorer facility (similar to Windows Explorer) allows quick display, interrogation, and report of data stored in the database. More generally, the CS-DRMS is designed to cater to both small and larger databases and can be run on various types of relational databases including INFORMIX, ORACLE, and SQL-Server. CS-DRMS is based on open, industry-standard technology and can export information to the DSM Plus, World Bank DRS, as well as other packages, such as MS Excel, accounting, and other management information systems. The CS-DRMS functions in both English and French and has language-independent design to facilitate translation into other languages.

18.8 CS-DRMS has a Help facility, both on-line and on hard copy, that is to be augmented by Internet support from the CS-DRMS website. For further information, see the CS-DRMS website at: or contact:


Economic and Legal Advisory Services Division

Commonwealth Secretariat

Marlborough House

Pall Mall, London SW1Y 5HX, United Kingdom

Tel: 44-(0) 20–7747 6430

Fax: 44-(0) 20–7799 1507

UNCTAD’s Debt Management and Financial Analysis System (DMFAS)

18.9 The DMFAS is a computer system designed for use by ministries of finance and/or central banks for the management of public debt. It is regularly enhanced so that it remains current with, and helps establish, best practice in debt management.

18.10 The DMFAS allows the user to monitor public short-, medium-, and long-term debt, external and domestic, as well as on-lending operations. Private debt and grants may also be registered within the system. DMFAS is designed to satisfy three distinct debt-management needs: the day-to-day operational needs of the debt manager (see UNCTAD, 1993), the aggregate statistical requirements of the debt office, and the analytical needs of the policymaker. In connection with public expenditure, the DMFAS is easily linked to the budget execution system, when there is one in use at the ministry of finance.

18.11 DMFAS version 5.2 is a Windows-based application1 that uses all the advantages of this standard graphical user-interface. It also uses ORACLE’s Relational Database Management System (RDBMS)2 and ORACLE Development Tools.3 The Standard DMFAS version 5.2 exists in four different languages—English, French, Spanish, and Russian—and can be used both in a single-user and in a networked environment.

Operational Management

18.12 Operational debt management is the day-to-day management of debt in accordance with executive direction and organization, and involves the recording, analytical, controlling, and operating functions. The operational features of DMFAS 5.2 put the main emphasis on the recording and analytical functions, including compilation of aggregated debt figures and analysis of key indicators. This information, in turn, serves as a basis for control of public borrowing.

DMFAS 5.2 Recording Function

18.13 The DMFAS main menu follows the typical operational life cycle of a loan agreement. Loan details are registered in the Administration section and, based on the contract information, amortization tables are calculated and initial drawing estimates made. The Administration section also contains a Reference files menu where the user enters information on daily exchange rates, variable interest rates, commercial interest reference rates, budget line identification numbers, as well as creditors/debtors and other participants to the agreements. As disbursements take place, these will be registered into the loan Mobilization section of the system. This section may also, upon the user’s request, be programmed to print drawing requests automatically. Thereafter, all transactions related to the servicing of loans, including operations on arrears, penalty (late) interest, rescheduling, swaps, etc., are recorded in the Servicing section of the system. The servicing section contains links to budget allocations. The automatic registry of arrears function enables the user to create blocks of arrears for a given subset of loans.

Types of agreements that can be registered in the DMFAS

18.14 The DMFAS version 5.2 has facilities to register and establish the required links between the following types of agreements:

  • Loans. The system can record all loan-type contracts, including bonds, in their original currency. The system can store quantitative information (such as financial terms) and qualitative information (such as notes for specific comments or memorandum items, like the type of legal clauses in the contract). Furthermore, the loans “module” has facilities for:

    • —recording of secondary market shares and share movements for syndicated loans in order to report the exposure of each member of the syndicate at a given point in time;

    • —maintaining records of amendments to loan agreements;

    • —maintaining records of the loan status throughout the lifetime of the loan (when the loan was agreed but disbursement had not occurred), the period when the loan was in existence, and when it was fully repaid;

    • —recording currency pool loans (World Bank and regional development bank loans);

    • —linking loans and grants information to specific projects, agreed minutes, on-lending agreements, and budget allocations.

  • Grants. The “module” for registration of grants contains the same facilities as the loans module, except for repayment conditions.

  • On-lending agreements. The system can record On-lending of loans and the relation between the on-lent loans and the original loan.

  • Composite agreements. The facility for recording Composite agreements permits the user to register the global information on agreements incorporating several individual credits (and/or grants) and to link this global agreement to the individual loans or grants stemming from it.

  • Projects. The Project information facilities of the system permit easy identification of individual projects and their relationship to loans and grants financing them, as well as the individual disbursements related to them.

  • Debt reorganization agreements. The Debt reorganization facility links the reorganized bilateral loans to the relevant “Agreed Minutes” and is designed to provide supporting data for reorganization negotiations, to facilitate recording of the reorganized terms received, and to facilitate identification and reporting of reorganized transactions.

How is this information registered into DMFAS 5.2?

18.15 The DMFAS captures financial terms of individual credits as specified in each loan contract; the characteristics to be entered include, among others, the principal terms, interest terms, as well as interest and exchange rates. On the basis of this information, the system automatically calculates estimated disbursements and amortization tables. Loan information is entered on two levels, General information and Tranches; these are subsets of administration. Each loan has one general information section and at least one tranche section.


18.16 The section Administration registers all the basic data related to specific loan or grant agreements, projects financed through loans and/or grants, general agreements (for example, composite agreements, Paris Club Agreed Minutes, etc.), and rescheduling agreements. The following Reference information is stored within this section:

  • The Participants (debtors, creditors, etc.) in the different agreements. The system requires the availability of a set of information on each one of the participants (for example, institution type, country of residence, telecommunications data, etc.).

  • The Common variable interest rates for projection purposes.

  • The Commercial interest reference rates (CIRR) for a present-value calculation, which is especially useful within the framework of the HIPC Initiative. The OECD publishes these interest rates.

  • The system can record Daily exchange rates. These rates are entered into the common exchange rate file for the entire loan portfolio in the system.

  • The Budgetary lines are loaded here for use in the disbursement and debt-servicing processes, as required. In other words, the budget lines refer to the budget account numbers that are used to service the different loans.

  • The Interest rate groups and Maturity groups allow the user to customize the range of these loan attributes for selection and sorting needs.

General information

18.17 All the information that is general to the loan agreement and a grant is entered under this heading. The links to the loan participants or clients (borrowers, lenders, guarantors, beneficiaries, etc.) are also entered in this section, although there are facilities for entering loan participant links at the tranche level if the agreement has participants who only relate to a specific tranche. Some of the important features include:

  • The system uses flexible Loan identification so that the user can use his or her own codification standards and is not limited to predefined numeric loan numbers.

  • The role of the Participants to the different agreements (loan, grant, etc.) is defined here with reference to the participants file.

  • The Amendments to the different agreements (loan, grant, etc.) are registered and monitored here.

  • The Creditor’s participation shares in a syndicated loan are registered and monitored here with reference to the participants’ file.

  • The record of the Loan status throughout the lifetime of the loan is registered and monitored here.

  • The recording of the Currency pool loans (World Bank and regional development bank loans) is made here.

  • User-defined fields allow the debt officers to cater to country-specific loan details that can then be used as selection and sorting criteria when generating reports.

Tranche information

18.18 Information on interest payment and principal repayment terms is registered on a detailed level in so-called Tranches, and allows more accurate recording of loans in several currencies and with several interest rates. Multilateral borrowing, for instance, often has several currency tranches under the same credit. These different tranches may or may not have the same rate of interest. Each currency will therefore be registered as a separate tranche with its own amortization schedule. The system captures specific floating interest rates for the tranches. These rates are either entered into the common exchange rate file for the entire loan portfolio in the system or they are entered as characteristics of a loan tranche. This will depend on the level of accuracy of calculations that are required by the user. It was conceived in this way because different creditors will be using different interest rates for the same currency on the same date.

18.19 The DMFAS system provides three different options for manual and/or automatic management of tranches: one tranche only, known multiple numbers of tranches, and unknown number of tranches:

  • One tranche only. There will be only one tranche; all disbursements will belong to this tranche. The transactions of this tranche will always be in the base currency of this tranche, which must be the same as the loan currency.

  • Multiple known tranches. The user creates each tranche, defining the disbursement profile and amount of each tranche (the system will automatically manage the distribution of the undisbursed amount of each tranche as theoretical disbursements).

  • Unknown number of tranches until the loan is fully disbursed. The DMFAS system assists in this case in the creation of a tranche by automatically generating the so-called 0 (zero) tranche containing the estimated disbursements based on the remaining undisbursed amount of the loan. Each time a disbursement is registered, it will generate an actual amortization table starting in the number 1 tranche. Disbursements may also be entered into existing tranches, in which case the estimated disbursements in the existing 0 tranche will be recalculated, but no new tranche is created.

DMFAS 5.2 Operating and Controlling Functions

Operating function

18.20 The DMFAS records all types of individual transactions: disbursements (registered in Mobilization) and repayments of principal, payment of interest and commissions, etc. (registered in Servicing).


18.21 The section Mobilization is for registering Disbursements. The system can handle disbursements in the same (or different) currency as that of the tranche and registers the equivalent value in the loan currency, in the tranche currency, and in the local currency. For validation all the figures are checked for consistency against the exchange rates registered in the corresponding files. The disbursement can also be related to a project or a program allocation.

18.22 The system has a facility for identifying estimated disbursements in the past and automatically redistributing these into the future—the Roll forward estimated disbursements—which is also activated from this option. When a large number of estimated disbursements have not taken place, the user can update the future undisbursed amounts in batch mode from this option starting at a given date. The system will thus automatically update the amortization tables as a result of projecting future disbursements.


18.23 The Debt-service operations are handled in this section. There is an option dealing with principal and interest and two other options for commissions and penalty (late) interest. All debt-service operations can be entered and/or followed in six currencies: local, tranche, effective, euro, U.S. dollar, and SDR. The user will have access to the following functionalities:

  • The debt-service operations will be ordered by scheduled date, and the field status will inform the user of the current stage in the servicing process for the maturity concerned (scheduled, waiting, paid, written-off, rescheduled, payment ordered but no feedback received from the payer, etc.).

  • The generation of the list of Debt-service maturities is based on the amortization tables. The user must verify these lists and that the maturities in the waiting list (those whose scheduled date are before today’s date) are registered as paid, rescheduled, written-off, swapped, or confirmed as arrears. The system might confirm the overdue maturities as arrears automatically if the user has chosen this option.

  • The accumulation of arrears will eventually also lead to accumulation of a stock of Penalty (late) interest due to different creditors. The DMFAS system estimates this penalty interest based on each individual confirmed arrears transaction in the database. The penalty interest “module” allows the user to record payments, rescheduled, and written-off operations on penalty interest.

  • This section is also where the Budgetary allocation amounts are registered. The system allows entry of budget allocations for comparison with actual payments. The user defines the budget periods (within the fiscal year) and loads the budget line identifications and the allocation to each budget line. The allocation is then linked to tranches and individual transactions, and in this way the system automatically monitors the allocation against the accumulated amount of actual transactions during the specified budget period. So, the budgeting of payments may be monitored on loans, interest, principal, and commissions—one line for each item as defined in the budget—and can easily be adjusted to the needs of individual countries. The system will issue a warning if the sum of actual transactions exceeds the allocation.

  • The Adjustment factors used in some of the currency pool loans from multilateral institutions are registered here. These factors will be used for reporting, since the system will always keep the currency pool loan in book values, using the factors to reevaluate the outstanding amount and debt servicing at a given date stated by the user.

  • The Payment order, a country-specific facility, can also be either printed or electronically transmitted from this option. If there is a linkage with a budget system, the payment order can be processed through the corresponding budget allocations.

Historical data

18.24 A public debt system should be able to show and calculate the historical data. Loading the information about the individual transactions in order to fulfill this requirement can be very tedious and, in some cases, an overwhelming task. The DMFAS, in order to overcome this problem, permits the user to load balances on a loan-by-loan and tranche-by-tranche basis at a given date (the user-defined DMFAS cutoff date). The Historical amount balances will include total principal repaid, total interest paid, etc., at the cutoff date. This will allow the system to calculate, at any date after the cutoff date, stocks and flows at any level of aggregation.

Controlling and monitoring functions

18.25 The first controlling function is on the data accuracy and data validation. Once the data are entered, they will be updated regularly or deleted, as the case may be. To ensure consistency among data for a particular loan, a certain number of controls have been incorporated in the system. By means of a number of error messages appearing on the user’s computer screen, the user will correct and validate data. The user may also produce different reports to check the data for correctness.

18.26 The system can also produce a large number of reports for the purpose of control and monitoring the debt-management operations.4 Examples include reports of payments falling due in the next month, in order to pay them on time, and the selection facility that permits the user to select loans by economic sector, type of creditor, type of financing, etc., that can be used for controlling ceilings on outstanding debt or debt servicing.

DMFAS 5.2 Analytical Function

Reporting facilities

18.27 This function provides a flexible and comprehensive set of reports that, when generated in aggregate, can be produced in local currency, in U.S. dollars, in euros, or in SDRs. The DMFAS 5.2 can produce a large number of reports of four types, as described below.

Predefined reports without parameters

18.28 The user cannot modify this type of format. The report concerns a very specific topic and will present all available information on the selected “block” of loans. No parameters are therefore required. The Amortization table is one example of this type of report.

Predefined reports with parameters

18.29 The user also cannot modify this type of format. The report, however, potentially covers large amounts of data, and the user therefore can define the reporting period covered. DMFAS version 5.2 produces Form 1 and Form 2 of the World Bank’s DRS, which are examples of this type of report,5 as is the loan account statement that is extensively used by debt officers.

User-defined reports

18.30 Customized reports permit users to create their own self-designed reports. In addition to a different set of parameters that the user can choose—such as the currency, the level of aggregation, the period, etc.—it is possible for the user to select the contents of the columns from among a list of available debt totals from the stored information and/or projections. For certain formats, the report can contain up to 12 columns as well as include percentages as debt totals. The report format, once the user has created it, is stored by DMFAS 5.2, so that the user can retrieve it in order to print it out with the original or new data, as well as to modify its format if needed.

18.31 To create reports in DMFAS the user starts by defining a subset of loans to work with, then sorts this subset and finally defines the report parameters, such as the currency, the periodicity, the level of detail, etc., as well as the hierarchical order in which the selected criteria appear in the report and how their subtotals are calculated. DMFAS version 5.2 uses a customized Oracle Browser to create subsets of loans and to sort the subsets. These subsets may, if the user wishes, be given a name and saved for later use.

18.32 When creating a user-defined report, the user has to select the report’s format:

  • Format 1: Aggregates in columns, and each aggregate for a specific period;

  • Format 2: Aggregates in columns, and time periods in rows;

  • Format 3: Aggregates in rows, and time periods in columns.

18.33 The user names each new report in order to be able to retrieve the report for later use. When retrieving previously saved reports, however, the user still has the option of changing the corresponding subset or the report parameters. The report parameters include, among others:

  • Period base. The user may produce reports based on the fiscal year, the calendar year, or according to an exact period defined by him. The budgetary year is defined separately as one of the system parameters of DMFAS version 5.2.

  • Adjusted amount. For loans that have been registered as currency pool loans, the system allows the user to adjust the amounts of the report by the registered currency pool adjustment factors.

  • Selection of the individual columns. The user can select from a list of columns, defined by the DMFAS staff, and put them together according to the user’s own needs. This enables, for instance, the combination of stock and flows columns in the same report, either for previous transactions or for projections.

  • Specification of the columns. The user not only has access to the existing variables or aggregates for the columns but also can create his or her own aggregates and include them on the list of predefined columns. The users can, in this way, free themselves from waiting for the DMFAS staff to include new aggregates in the system’s reports.

Specific reports

18.34Through direct access to the database. With the help of Oracle Browser and Oracle Reports and other tools like Microsoft Access and Microsoft Query, the user can create reports by accessing directly the different DMFAS 5.2 database tables. In addition, any program supporting ODBC (Open Data Base Connectivity) may connect to the DMFAS version 5.2 database, giving the user with the appropriate access authorization the possibility to use the calculating, sorting, formatting, and graphics capabilities of the user’s software on the DMFAS version 5.2 database. Most popular spreadsheets and database programs such as Excel, Lotus 1–2–3, and Access support ODBC. The links can be based on queries so that the result will change when new entries into the database are made. The contents of an Excel spreadsheet with a query selecting the outstanding amounts of all loans with U.S. dollars as loan currency will therefore automatically change without the Excel user’s intervention as the outstanding nominal amounts of these loans in the database changes, and the same applies to graphs based on the same data.

18.35 The DMFAS 5.2 therefore has no limit to the number of report formats the user may create.

18.36By exporting the generated results into Excel. The DMFAS system allows the easy export of the generated results into Excel for further manipulation of the data. However, contrary to the above ODBC option, the data in Excel or other similar spreadsheets is not automatically updated when modifications are made in the DMFAS database.

Analytical facilities

18.37 The analysis module has been specifically designed to calculate projections based on the outstanding nominal amount, and the present-value amount using CIRR interest rates as the rate of discount, of a debt portfolio. The use of present value instead of nominal value allows the user to take into account the terms and concessionality of a debt portfolio and to eliminate the effects of the concessionality. The module on projections based on the outstanding nominal amount is used, among other things, to calculate debt-service payments effectively owed, excluding future and hypothetical disbursements.

18.38 This module enables the user to choose between different parameters and calculation methods (the pro-rata and the truncation methods) of particular interest to produce and compare different scenarios for the debt-sustainability analysis of HIPC.

18.39 An interface has been created between the DMFAS system and DSM Plus of the World Bank, which is a tool designed to help officials analyze the external financing requirements of a country and to quantify the effects of debt-relief operations or new borrowing. This interface provides the DMFAS user with the means to export data from the DMFAS system for subsequent import into the DSM Plus system. The interface enables the DMFAS user to benefit directly from the data in the DMFAS database, avoiding the need to reenter that data in DSM Plus.

18.40 The DMFAS system also provides analytical support for debt managers by, for example:

  • Facilitating easy Registration of potential new debt and analyzing the effect of these new debts on the future debt-service pattern;

  • Permitting easy Simulations to determine the effect of interest rate fluctuations and exchange rate variations over a period of time;

  • Calculating and giving information on Detailed penalty (late) interest from the scheduled date of a maturity registered as an arrear to a given date; and

  • Calculating Accrued interest costs, which allows debt officers to generate automatically such information for, and at the end of, the previous month for use by other departments, including the accounting unit.

Executive Management

18.41 Executive debt-management features of the DMFAS, in combination with the World Bank’s DSM Plus, include specialized reports to:

  • Provide debt managers and planners with easy-to-use tools to assist in policy decision making, evaluation of alternative strategies, and development of negotiation strategies. These analytical and decision-support tools integrate debt data with other economic variables (for example, balance of payments components), allowing simulations of debt reorganizations and taking into account hypothetical new loans and financing.

  • Provide debt managers with decision-support systems and analytical tools to assist in portfolio management and optimization of composition, maturities, and interest and exchange rate exposure. Such tools allow for sensitivity analysis through simulations that take into account, for example, exchange rate variations or fluctuations in floating interest rates.

Technical Characteristics


18.42 The DMFAS system has to be portable and easy to use because it has to work in an environment where its users may not be computer specialists. Therefore, significant effort has been devoted to making the system as user-friendly and as flexible as possible so that the user, to the largest extent feasible, can operate it independently of the technical staff of UNCTAD. In this light, the following features have been made standard:6

  • Windows-based Graphical user interface that includes field-to-field navigation, color screens, Windows standards with “Shortcut Keys” and mouse support, easy selection of menu options from selection lists, etc.

  • The Code file of the system is divided into standard and user-defined codes. This allows country-specific customization of codes, such as Location, Economic Sector codes, etc.

  • Language independence permits the language-dependent parts of the system—for example, menus—to be separated from the system itself. In addition, the DMFAS is delivered with four standard languages included, and the user may easily switch from one language to another. This feature is particularly important for countries operating the system in languages (such as Russian) that they cannot use for reporting to the World Bank and other international organizations or creditors. In this way, they will have the option of producing the reports in English.

  • Access to system codes allows the user to add, delete, or modify user-updatable system codes, provided he or she has sufficient “privileges” (see below).

  • The user also fixes Tolerance limits for data validation in the system.


18.43 The Security features in DMFAS 5.2 include preventing unauthorized personnel from viewing or editing data by assigning different access rights to different users—for instance, to ensure that only the database administrator has access to administrative functions of the system. If required, this Access control can be refined to permit the definition and enforcement per individual end-user of groups of data with which that user may work—particular creditors, for example—and, for each group of data, the operations that the user may perform. A facility of Double control allows managers to enforce validation of initial registry or modification of data by nominated people other than the user who first registered or modified the data. Among other advantages, the system, if calibrated that way, would not allow the entered or modified data to be used before the data were validated (for reporting purposes, for example).

18.44 ORACLE provides the possibility to keep and consult logs detailing the types of operations performed by each user and keeping track of what the data looked like before an operation in case of a modification.

18.45 ORACLE also provides backup and restore procedures as well as automatic recovery functions in case of power failure. This considerably diminishes the risk of corrupted data files.

Conversion software

18.46 For users of DMFAS versions 4.1 Plus or 5.0 who want to upgrade their installation to DMFAS version 5.2, UNCTAD has developed an interface for automatic conversion of data to version 5.2 format with minimum manual intervention by the user.

Support to other information systems

18.47 DMFAS 5.2 can be linked with other computer systems. The system may therefore provide debt data for other information systems, such as those dealing with balance of payments, budget, public and/or central bank accounting, government revenue and expenditure, currency management, etc.

Compatibility with network operating systems

18.48 As mentioned, DMFAS 5.2 is built on ORACLE’s RDBMS relational client/server architecture. Consequently, DMFAS 5.2 can be run on any network operating system that supports the ORACLE 7.1 RDBMS server and can have Windows workstations as clients. This includes Novell, Windows NT, and UNIX.

Documentation and Training

18.49 A comprehensive set of documentation is available for DMFAS version 5.2. This includes:

  • A comprehensive User’s Guide;

  • A DMFAS Glossary (see UNCTAD, 1998);

  • A Database Administrator’s Manual; and

  • Technical documentation of interfaces when appropriate.

Training available from UNCTAD is described in the next chapter.

Windows is licensed software from Microsoft Corporation.

A relational database is a collection of “relations,” whereby a relation is a two-dimensional table in which the entries in the table are single-valued; each column has a distinct name; all the values in the same column are values of the same attribute; the order of the columns is immaterial; each row is distinct; and the order of the rows is immaterial.

ORACLE is a registered trademark of Oracle Corporation.

The system cannot perform these functions properly without the proper institutional environment; that is, the administrative and institutional arrangements of the debt office, as well as its relationships and information flows with other institutions.

The World Bank Forms 1 and 2 can also be “printed” and reported electronically. See Chapter 17, paragraph 17.39 ff.

For further information on hardware and software requirements, please refer to UNCTAD (2000). This document is regularly updated to include the most recent developments in software and hardware technology.

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