Taking Stock: Public Finances Now Stronger in Many Countries


By Carlo Cottarelli

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The slow global recovery is making fiscal adjustment more difficult around the world, but this doesn’t mean that little has been accomplished.

In fact, significant progress in many countries has been made during the past two years in strengthening their fiscal accounts after the 2008–09 deterioration.  The IMF’s latest Fiscal Monitor takes stock of this progress.

Deficits are lower, and in many cases debt is too

Let me first say something about advanced economies, which is where the most urgent fiscal problems exist.

Most advanced economies have made good progress lowering their fiscal deficits (the imbalance between spending and revenues). Deficits, adjusted for the economic cycle, fell by about ¾ of a percentage point of GDP in 2011 and 2012, and are projected to do so by about 1 percentage point of GDP in 2013.

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IMF Opens Up: Partnerships with Donors a Win-Win


I would like to talk about one of the IMF’s core mandates that is highly successful but rarely grabs headlines: technical assistance for capacity building.

Although less glamorous than the surveillance and lending operations of the Fund, for many countries these advisory services in areas such as macroeconomic policy, public financial management, tax policy and revenue administration, financial sector supervision, or statistics are indispensable. They help IMF member countries identify weaknesses in policies and institutional frameworks, develop concrete reform proposals and strategies, and put together the nuts and bolts for translating the IMF’s policy advice into concrete implementation of reforms.

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