Abstract

This handbook is aimed at anyone who is involved in a Public Investment Management Assessment (PIMA) or who has a practical interest in public investment management. It is intended to be useful for country authorities, IMF staff, staff of other financial institutions and development organizations, and anyone who is interested in exploring different aspects of public investment management to understand how country systems are designed and how they work in practice.

Appendix I: PIMA Questionnaire

Planning Sustainable Levels of Public Investment

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Ensuring That Public Investment Is Allocated to the Right Sectors and Projects

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Delivering Productive and Durable Public Assets

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Appendix II: Indicative Scoring Thresholds

The scoring thresholds in Table II.1 are indicative, and PIMA assessment teams can deviate from these if data are unavailable, inconsistent, or incomplete, or if application of the thresholds would give a misleading assessment of the dimension in question. The effectiveness thresholds provide examples of possible quantitative criteria. These are not binding.

Table II.1.

Indicative Scoring Thresholds

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Appendix III Conducting a PIMA

Conducting a PIMA involves several steps, as outlined in Figure III.1.

Figure III.1.
Figure III.1.

Steps in Conducting a PIMA

PIMA Request

Public Investment Management Assessments (PIMAs) are based on requests from IMF member countries. The requests may be a result of specific challenges that have emerged in the country’s public investment management (PIM) system or a result of more general interest in continuous improvement of management frameworks. The requests will often emerge during the continuous dialog between the country and the IMF. Requests are assessed and approved by the IMF Fiscal Affairs Department (FAD) part of its annual work program, based on inputs from the relevant area department.

Before the Mission

The first step in planning a PIMA mission is to agree on the timing and scope of the mission. A PIMA mission will usually require two weeks in the country. The PIMA framework itself will define the broad parameters of the mission, but countries will often have specific issues or questions they want the assessment to cover, for instance:

  • How to better include public investment in national planning

  • How to incorporate PPPs in the overall management framework for public investments

  • How to promote more effective and timelier project implementation

Mission preparation will usually include steps to familiarize the country with the PIMA framework and to have officials conduct an initial self-assessment. Familiarization may include a short preparatory mission to conduct a workshop. (Workshops may also be done remotely). The new infrastructure governance portal (https://infrastructuregovern.imf.org/) includes facilities to introduce and explain the PIMA framework to countries and to assist them in the self-assessment. The self-assessment is an effective way for countries to explore the PIMA framework and to help them prepare for the mission. The self-assessment will also help countries identify and engage the authorities’ PIMA counterpart. This is important for the effectiveness of the mission.

Data requirements for the assessment are defined well ahead of the mission. There are substantial amounts of relevant data in IMF databases (see Box III.1). Data for the country itself and for relevant comparator countries are extracted from these databases for use during the PIMA. There will also be a need to collect additional data from the country:

  • Data needed to fill gaps in data or to explain outliers in the Investment and Capital Stock Template. Additional data may be requested to develop a macro-fiscal analytical theme in the context section of the PIMA report.1

  • Data needed to help in scoring dimensions and writing the explanatory text in the assessment section of the PIMA report. The indications of important documents and useful data under each dimension in this handbook could be a starting point for defining the needs for additional data for the PIMA.

  • Public investment plans and programs will be particularly useful to help the mission identify major projects for further analysis. A detailed meeting schedule will also be prepared before the mission. The PIMA covers many topics and institutions. The meetings must be planned to ensure sufficient time is allocated to discussing each topic.

PIMA Tables Maintained by the IMF

Investment and Capital Stock Template—an Excel spreadsheet designed and maintained by the FAD Expenditure Policy Division. It is the source for data and figures for use in the context section of the PIMA report, information on comparator countries, the efficiency frontier analysis, and intermediate PIM indicators such as volatility of public investment spending. It may be necessary to collect additional information to explain any biases, outliers, or limitations in the data for the mission country and comparator countries. For example, data may only cover central government while the counterpart country or comparator country is a federal state, or there may be anomalies in the data. Gaps in data can be filled or unreliable data corrected, by collecting data from the country before or during the PIMA mission.

The PIMA Scoring Template—an Excel spreadsheet designed and maintained by the FAD Public Financial Management divisions. It contains scores of all countries that have had a PIMA. It is the source for the form to enter dimension data and calculate institution scores, the heat map, and the spider charts for design and effectiveness.

During the Mission

The introductory meetings will provide an over view of the PIMA framework and the plans for the assessment, as well as the initial findings from country data in the IMF databases. The purpose is to ensure that key counterparts are fully aware of the PIMA framework and approach and that the mission team is familiar with the specific concerns and issues of importance to the country. The presentation of country-specific public investment trends and efficiency helps put the PIMA into perspective and retain the authorities’ attention from the beginning.

The topical meetings will usually occupy the mission team full time for at least the first week.

The PIMA framework includes 45 dimensions, many of which will require separate meetings. There will typically be some additional meetings, including follow-up meetings, during the second week.

A midpoint presentation or workshop to discuss the preliminary assessment and recommendations is useful. This will allow the mission team to verify that their preliminary assessment is based on correct information and understanding, and that tentative recommendations are seen as relevant and credible. It will allow the authorities to clarify any misconceptions and to begin thinking about the recommendations.

The PIMA mission will prepare the draft report in the field. The report will reflect the framework described in this handbook and will be handed to the authorities by the end of the mission.

After the Mission

The draft PIMA report will be reviewed by the authorities. They will have the opportunity to correct any factual errors or misconceptions. They will also be asked to provide their views on the findings and recommendations of the report, including the action plan. The authorities will be asked to provide their comments within three weeks after the mission.

The draft PIMA report will also be reviewed by IMF departments. This will include review by FAD as well as the relevant area department. One key purpose of FAD’s review is to ensure that the PIMA framework is consistently applied across different countries. The review by the area department helps ensure that the findings are based on a good understanding of the situation of the country and that recommendations support the country’s fiscal and development priorities.

The final report will reflect the comments received from the authorities and from IMF departments. The target is to finalize the report within six weeks after the PIMA mission.

Final PIMA Report

The final PIMA report will be submitted to the country, and country authorities will be requested to agree to publication of the report. FAD believes that publication will enhance the effectiveness of the PIMA assessment and the report but will only publish the PIMA with permission from the authorities. Agreement to publish the PIMA report announces the willingness of the government to acknowledge issues uncovered in the PIMA. The report provides a structure for discussion within government, and with civil society and development partners, to address PIM improvements.

PIMA Follow-Up

The PIMA action plan will often include proposals for further technical assistance from FAD and from other institutions. This assistance will be important for necessary capacity building and institutional development. The authorities are encouraged to use the action plan to request and coordinate technical assistance from the full range of development partners. IMF regional centers and in-country advisors will often be asked to contribute.

Periodic assessment of progress in strengthening PIM will be useful. This will usually be a component of any TA from FAD. A broader assessment could involve updating the PIMA after a few years. The update would usually include a PIMA self-assessment by country authorities.

Appendix IV: Outline of a PIMA Report

Public Investment Management Assessment (PIMA) reports are structured in several ways. Box IV.1 describes a common organization of the PIMA report. However, there is considerable variation in how PIMA reports are structured in practice. This appendix assumes that the organization in Box IV.1 is used. The recommendations must be adjusted to variations in the chosen structure.

Common Organization of the PIMA Mission Report

  • Executive Summary

  • Section 1. Public Investment Context

    • Trends in Total Public Investment

    • Composition

    • Impact

    • Efficiency

  • Section 2. Public Investment Management

  • Institutions

    • Overall Assessment

    • PIMA Institutional Analyses

  • Section 3. Cross-Cutting Issues

    • Overall Assessment

    • Cross-Cross-Cutting Issues Analyses

  • Section 4. Reform Priorities and Recommendations

    • Overall Assessment

    • Recommendations

  • Appendix 1. Action Plan

  • Appendix 2. Detailed PIMA Scores

Executive Summary

The executive summary should include the spider chart, the heat map at the institution level, and a high-level table of recommendations. The spider chart provides a motivation for change by comparing the country with other countries, the heat map explains the scoring by institution, and the table of recommendations puts forward actions to address public investment management (PIM) weaknesses. Different variations of the spider chart are possible—design, effectiveness, comparing design with effectiveness for the country, or comparing either design or effectiveness with comparable country groups. The choice of spider chart should support the main message of the report.

Section 1. Public Investment Context

This section has two major purposes. Firs t, it provides a macro-fiscal context within which PIM institutions operate and thus highlights how macro-fiscal conditions help to shape PIM institutions. For example, high debt levels in a country may limit its ability to smooth multiyear funding for public investment, which affects the need to strengthen the medium-term fiscal framework, multiyear budgeting, and cash management institutions.

Second, the section provides a motivation to change by making cross-country comparisons. Using comparable countries, with similar macro-fiscal or other conditions, the relative performance of PIM institutions is highlighted.

Certain content should be covered in this section, which is typically divided into four subsections. The mission has discretion in the organization of the section, while covering main elements of the content the following main elements of the content:

Trends in total public investment. This addresses the history of public investment spending and resulting capital stock. Standard figures are provided by the Expenditure Policy Division, based on their dataset in the Investment and Capital Stock Template. Mission chiefs can be selective in what figures they choose to include in the report and how to group them, based on issues or trends to be highlighted or any perceived weaknesses in the data. Reference to the macroeconomic impact of public investment, available through other sources such as Article IV reports, is encouraged. Sources of funding are relevant as a measure of the sustain-ability of public investment spending (for example, government debt levels and external supplier of capital to governments, such as international financial institutions or China, and the private sector).

Association of public investment with other macro-fiscal variables. Chief among these are economic growth, debt, and fiscal risk (for example, contingent liabilities).

Certain technical issues. These include (1) definition of capital stock—the cumulative sum of prior-year spending on economic infrastructure1; (2) the source of the data in the expenditure policy dataset; (3) infusions of capital into public corporation by government, which is shown as public investment in the expenditure policy data; and (4) explanation of data outliers.

Composition of public investment. This relates to (1) the purpose of public investment (for example, function, and social versus economic infrastructure) and (2) public investment financing sources (i.e., central government, general government, public corporations, public-private partnerships, and private sector).

Impact of public investment. This refers to the outputs and outcomes of public investment, including performance measures (qualitative and quantitative). Mission chiefs may decide whether to focus on qualitative, quantitative, or hybrid measures of performance. For example, some quantitative measures may be misleading, such as kilometers of roads per population for a densely populated country.

Efficiency of public investment. This brings together capital stock and impact data to measure efficiency. For example, outcome measures (that is, perceptions index) are related to input measures (per capita capital stock) in the efficiency frontier and whisker charts. Volatility and churn should also be addressed here, because they directly affect the ability to translate inputs into outputs and outcomes. Any distortion caused by megaprojects should be noted.

Figures. The efficiency frontier and whisker charts should be included in this section and typically require explanation in the text. Missions should be prepared to explain verbally (not necessary in the text) that (1) the efficiency frontier figure is three dimensional; (2) the scale of public perceptions stops at 7; (3) perceptions are provided by the World Economic Forum—some mission country staff contribute to the survey and may be familiar with its methodology and weaknesses; (4) the increase in efficiency, as shown in the whisker figure, is not based on a percentage increase in the mission country’s performance but rather is based on moving up on a scale of 100. Special attention needs to be given if the comparator countries perform significantly better than the mission country.

The text should analyze rather than describe the data. The themes or issues should be identified, which should be supported by figures.

Section 2. Public Investment Management Institutions

An introduction to this section should be used to explain the questionnaire, summarize scoring, and highlight issues. It should include the following: ü The purpose and structure of the section, possibly including the style of text for each institution (see writing options below); ü The principal concepts and methodologies used, such as PIM phase, institution, and dimension levels of the PIMA questionnaire (include the three-phase circular figure here), and scoring for design, effectiveness, and reform priority; and ü The overall scoring results, including the spider diagram and heat map. The text could summarize institutions that are particularly weak and strong, important linkages between institutions, or institutions that have received attention by the authorities in recent years. Connections with themes laid out in Section 1 should be made. The text for each institution must cover two main issues. That is, (1) the reason for scoring and (2) practices that may be the subject of a recommendation, including material cross-cutting issues. The length of text for each institution should be not more than 1–1.5 pages.

The PIMA should use one of the following styles of writing for each institution. Whatever style is chosen, it should be used consistently for all 15 institutions.

Option 1

Paragraph 1: addresses why the institution is important and introduces the three dimensions and how they capture the essence of the institution.

Paragraph 2: the topic sentence provides an overall assessment of the design of the institution, using criteria terms used in the questionnaire. Supporting sentences address the design of each of the three dimensions.

Paragraph 3: the topic sentence provides an overall assessment of the effectiveness of the institution, using criteria terms in the questionnaire. Supporting sentences address the effectiveness of each of the three dimensions.

Paragraph 4: presents major issues and their importance, providing a basis for the assessment of reform priorities in Section 4 of the report.

Option 2

Paragraph 1: the topic sentence provides an assessment of the design and effectiveness of the first dimension, using criteria terms used in the questionnaire. Supporting sentences add details.

Paragraph 2: the topic sentence provides an assessment of the design and effectiveness of the second dimension, using criteria terms used in the questionnaire. Supporting sentences add details.

Paragraph 3: the topic sentence provides an assessment of the design and effectiveness of the third dimension, using criteria terms used in the questionnaire. Supporting sentences add details.

Paragraph 4: selectively analyzes the major strengths and weaknesses reflected in dimensions (not necessarily in each dimension) as they relate to the aims of the institution, the weaknesses of which provide the basis for reform priorities in Section 4 of the report.

Section 3. Cross-Cutting Issues

The overall assessment should be used to explain the purpose and structure of the section. Cross-cutting issues are defined as enablers of the 15 institutions in Section 2. Weaknesses should be noted in the Section 2 text, in particular if cross-cutting weakness materially impedes higher scores for the design and effectiveness of specific dimensions.

If any cross-cutting issue is found to materially influence institution scores, it should be analyzed. It can be the subject of recommendations. The length of the analysis of each cross-cutting issue should be comparable to the text for a typical institution in Section 2. The text should generally adhere to the following structure.

Paragraph 1: why the issue is important and how it influences PIM practices.

Paragraph 2: overall description of the current situation in the country with regard to the issue. Tables summarizing key cross-cutting elements (laws, IT systems) related to different PIMA institutions can be useful.

Multiple paragraphs: topic sentence identifies the institution(s) and how the issue affects it (them).

Concluding paragraph: summary assessment of the problem and how remedies might improve the scores of institutions.

Section 4. Reform Priorities and Recommendations

The overall assessment should provide a rationale for why the recommendations were selected from among all possible recommendations. This would involve tying together the seriousness of the problem and the likelihood of successful implementation. This section may also be used to identify commitments the authorities have already made, such as a reform roadmap, and describe how the recommendations ft within those commitments. Recommendations are not required for all institutions. The recommendations must reflect a realistic assessment of the capacity in the country and give guidance on priority and sequencing.

This section should be short and avoid unnecessary repetition from other sections. An alternative to a separate section on recommendations is to include these under the relevant parts of Section 3. This will link the recommendations directly to specific institutions. Recommendations should follow a common format. Recommendations should be made in or generally follow the format shown below.

Appendix 1. Action Plan

The PIMA report should include a detailed action plan outlining the necessary steps and the timetable to implement the recommendations. Table IV.1 provides an example of a PIMA action plan for Georgia.

Format for Recommendations

  • 1. Issue or problem to be solved: short paragraph

  • 2. Recommended solution: short paragraph, indicating intended change rather than actions to be taken

  • 3. Actions to be taken: short paragraph(s) with bullets, and how they achieve the recommended solution (linked to action plan)

  • 4. Responsible agencies: short list (if known)

  • 5. Implementation risks: short paragraph with bullets

Table IV.1.

Georgia: Proposed Action Plan

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Appendix V: Glossary

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1

Data may be severely lacking for some countries, in particular post-conflict countries. In such cases, the assessment team will need to populate the relevant databases.

1

For a review of the methodology used by the IMF Fiscal Affairs Department to calculate capital stock, see https://infrastructuregovern.imf.org/content/dam/PIMA/Knowledge-Hub/dataset/WhatsNewinIMFInvestmentandCapitalStockDatabase_ May2021.pdf.

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