Summary of WP/95/2: “Government Finance Statistics in the Countries of the Former Soviet Union: Compilation and Methodological Issues”

This compilation of summaries of Working Papers released during January-June 1995 is being issued as a part of the Working Paper series. It is designed to provide the reader with an overview of the research work performed by the staff during the period. Authors of Working Papers are normally staff members of the Fund or consultants, although on occasion outside authors may collaborate with a staff member in writing a paper. The views expressed in the Working Papers or their summaries are, however, those of the authors and should not necessarily be interpreted as representing the views of the Fund. Copies of individual Working Papers and information on subscriptions to the annual series of Working Papers may be obtained from IMF Publication Services, International Monetary Fund, 700 19th Street, Washington, D.C. 20431. Telephone: (202) 623-7430 Telefax: (202) 623-7201.

Abstract

This compilation of summaries of Working Papers released during January-June 1995 is being issued as a part of the Working Paper series. It is designed to provide the reader with an overview of the research work performed by the staff during the period. Authors of Working Papers are normally staff members of the Fund or consultants, although on occasion outside authors may collaborate with a staff member in writing a paper. The views expressed in the Working Papers or their summaries are, however, those of the authors and should not necessarily be interpreted as representing the views of the Fund. Copies of individual Working Papers and information on subscriptions to the annual series of Working Papers may be obtained from IMF Publication Services, International Monetary Fund, 700 19th Street, Washington, D.C. 20431. Telephone: (202) 623-7430 Telefax: (202) 623-7201.

This paper examines compilation and methodological issues that affect government finance statistics (GFS) in the Baltics, the Russian Federation, and other states of the former Soviet Union.

The paper finds that several major problems affect the use of fiscal reports from the countries of the former Soviet Union as source documents for GFS data. The most serious of these is the inadequate coverage of the data in the fiscal reports, which exclude significant portions of government activity. Another major shortcoming is the structure of the classification codes, which do not adequately distinguish the different economic characteristics or functional nature of transactions. A third significant problem is the level of aggregation in the fiscal reports, particularly the subannual reports, which hinders both accurate measurement of the deficit or surplus and the compilation of detailed GFS data.

The paper also finds that there has been some uncertainty about the appropriate treatment of certain types of transactions in the countries of the former Soviet Union. It suggests treatments designed to be both consistent with the international methodology and compatible with the operational requirements of the Fund.

The paper concludes that, although the IMF provides extensive training and technical assistance in GFS methodology, progress has been slow in the countries of the former Soviet Union other than the Baltic countries. It identifies priority areas for the future development of GFS reporting systems for these countries.

Working Paper Summaries (WP/95/1 - WP/95/61)
Author: International Monetary Fund