Other ESW Reports

285 items available

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This includes miscellaneous ESW types and pre-2003 ESW type reports that are subsequently completed and released.

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  • Publication
    Indonesia : Selected Fiscal Issues in a New Era
    (Washington, DC, 2003-02-14) World Bank
    Despite the substantial progress in managing its fiscal challenges post-1997 financial crisis, Indonesia's risks to the budget have not disappeared, though the Government continues to be committed to fiscal consolidation. While debt sustainability is improving, the budget remains vulnerable to shocks, and, large non-discretionary spending (interest payments, transfers to the regions, personnel spending) still constrain the use of fiscal policy for macroeconomic stabilization, and social risk protection, and, as the fiscal situation improves, and decentralization proceeds, a rethinking of resource allocation becomes necessary. This report assesses Indonesia's progress in dealing with challenges that have altered the fiscal system since the crisis, and reviews options for fiscal consolidation, as well as sectoral issues in the new decentralized environment, including public expenditure management reforms. Suggestions include an increased revenue mobilization to make the budget more risk proof, and an improved tax administration, rather than streamlining the tax structure alone, while the Government's decision to eliminate the fuel subsidy remains critical for fiscal consolidation (which has little social implications). Moreover, the large interest payments burden incurred during the crisis, is crowding out development spending, and similarly, increased transfers to local governments are limiting discretionary spending (which could be accompanied by a decrease in central development spending in areas of regional responsibilities). A refinement of the budget management system is necessary, where the Finance Law would be instrumental in establishing accountability between the Executive, and Parliament.
  • Publication
    India - Maharashtra : Reorienting Government to Facilitate Growth and Reduce Poverty, Volume 2. Statistical Appendix, Other Annexes, and Workshop Programs
    (Washington, DC, 2002-10-31) World Bank
    Maharashtra's leadership position in India is under threat. The State is facing several bottlenecks to development: the private sector is no longer embracing Maharashtra and the public sector banks are increasingly reluctant to assist Maharashtra in its off-budget endeavors. Thus, the status quo is not an option. Regaining its leadership position is well within Maharashtra's reach. Among its many strengths are: the large pool of literate and skilled labor force, a well-developed financial system, a talented bureaucracy, and willingness to break with the ways of the past. If the State can successfully implement its reform agenda, it can quickly rebound and be back on the path of growth and prosperity. The lessons of the past decade suggest two guiding principles: First, the Government needs to articulate the message that its reforms are not to hurt, but to help the farmers. If reforms are to succeed, they have to be pro-farmer and pro-poor. Maharashtra's fiscal stress, be it due to power and irrigation subsidies or due to the losses in cotton and sugar interventions, has a close connection with the rural sector. However, as analyzed in Chapter 4, the current rural interventions are imposing a huge and unsustainable fiscal cost on the state, and more importantly, the bulk of the benefits are accruing to the rural rich. the challenge for the government, therefore, is to provide more efficient, equitable, and sustainable assistance to the rural poor. Second, the government's reform program needs to be designed and implemented with a medium- to long-term perspective. Piecemeal, short-term reforms can only bring short-term gains. The Government of Maharashtra faces a simple choice: to try to succeed in a difficult reform endeavor, or, since the policies of the past no longer work, to give up without trying and condemn itself to developmental and fiscal failure. Through its 2002-03 Budget Speech, the Government has indicated that it has chosen the former path. The quicker it moves along it, the greater the chances of success.
  • Publication
    Lithuania : Issues in Municipal Finance
    (Washington, DC, 2002-05-16) World Bank
    Since the establishment of Lithuania's independence, the country achieved substantial progress in transforming its local governments into independent units of Government: structural reforms to prod intergovernmental relations were made in 1994 and 1997, and will continue in 2002. Nevertheless, several issues remain, requiring particular attention from the Government. First, revenue and expenditure assignment between levels of government, and the degree of central regulation over local finance, needs to be reviewed. Local governments face fiscal constraints, for revenues are centrally collected, and distributed at centrally determined rates. And, although local governments have nominal authority over their expenditures, major items (salaries and welfare payments) are subject to Government control, resulting in local governments being faced with running arrears, or borrowing from the Government or private lenders. Although high per capita jurisdictions are required to share revenues with poorer counterparts, it is not clear that distribution mechanisms actually allocate revenues as needed. Upcoming reforms are likely to change this, but a greater change in the revenue distribution criteria, would be by funding delegated functions, but distributing according to sector-specific indicators of need, as well as budgeting financial availability. Second, financing capital investment may be improved by a greater fiscal autonomy to local governments, and mostly, by improving the quality of financial information, with reforms that include the separation of current, and capital accounts, and the adoption of accrual accounting for expenditures.
  • Publication
    India's Transport Sector : The Challenges Ahead, Volume 2. Background papers
    (Washington, DC, 2002-05-10) World Bank
    India's transport system--especially surface transport--is seriously deficient, and its services are highly inefficient by international standards. The economic losses from congestion and poor roads are estimated at 120 to 300 billion rupees a year. This report takes a critical assessment of the key policy and institutional issues that continue to contribute to the poor performance of the transport sector in India. After an introduction, Chapter 2 provides an overview of rapid demand change and poor supply response, and the resulting adverse impacts on the Indian economy and society. Chapter 3 examines the causes of poor supply response by focusing on four major problems: unclear responsibilities, inadequate resource mobilization, poor asset management, and inadequate imposition of accountability. Chapter 4 reviews recent reforms and lessons learned. Chapter 5 proposes short to medium term actions for each of the main transport subsectors. Three factors make it particularly opportune time for India to expedite transport reform: 1) Initial reform momentum has been built up. 2) There is a growing consensus within India that transport should be managed as an economic sector. 3) There are many successful models for transport reform from around the world. The resistance to reform should be overcome considering the high cost of slow or inadequate action to the Indian economy and society.
  • Publication
    Armenia : Growth Challenges and Government Policies, Volume 1. Main Conclusions and Recommendations
    (Washington, DC, 2001-11-30) World Bank
    This report reviews growth trends in Armenia for the period 1994-2000, outlines major weaknesses of existing development patterns, and suggests a package of policy recommendations designed to accelerate enterprise restructuring, attract investment, and encourage the creation of new businesses in the medium term (three to five years). Such steps are needed to systain (and preferably to increase) the current growth rates, to stop emigration among the young and skilled, and to reduce poverty. The government needs to focus much more clearly on generating the environment for private sector led growth by removing bottlenecks in policies, infrastructure, and institutions that prevent new private businesses from flourishing. International aid donors can help by supporting the removal of administrative barriers for investments, the rehabilitation of infrastructure, and the creation of "restructuring agencies" that will enable firms in key sectors to overcome or avoid common constraints to business growth in Armenia. Successful restructuring by such firms should have a demonstration effect on the country's economy and help consolidate public support for moving forward the program of reform begun a decade ago.
  • Publication
    Mexico - Fiscal Sustainability (Vol. 1 of 2) : Executive Summary
    (Washington, DC, 2001-06-13) World Bank
    The study reviews the stabilization efforts, and successes that preceded, and have underpinned Mexico's sweeping market-oriented structural reforms since the late 1980s, anchored in strong fiscal adjustment. It seeks to support the Government's efforts, and provides a body of technical analysis, by: correcting fiscal trends for various business-cycle effects; building a simulation model to assess the sensitivity of the fiscal budget to exogenous shocks under structural scenarios; estimating the direct, and indirect potential impact on the fiscal accounts of closing public infrastructure gaps, and funding contingent liabilities; and, consolidating the financial accounts of the main public sector institutions to assess sustainability of their aggregate debt path. Following a brief review on fiscal issues, the report focuses on selected sources of fiscal instability. Chapter I questions the role of fiscal policy in determining output; the responsiveness of the fiscal policy to the business cycle; and, the "persistence" of fiscal policy vs. financing needs, implying the fiscal policy lacks a design that makes it a stabilizing feature of the economy. Chapters II and III investigate the impacts of major exogenous shocks, and provide estimates of the potential payoffs from increased investment in public infrastructure, calculating the optimal infrastructure stocks implied by the elasticity estimates. Chapter IV addresses the measurement of contingent liabilities, within the traditional budget accounting framework, while Chapter V provides estimates of the debt stock at the state level, suggesting disturbing trends in the size, and concentration of the debt are developing, and, sobering evidence on the health of the sub-national pension systems suggest a large percentage of these are either in actuarial deficit, or will be by 2001.
  • Publication
    Mexico - Fiscal Sustainability (Vol. 2 of 2) : Background Papers
    (Washington, DC, 2001-06-13) World Bank
    The study reviews the stabilization efforts, and successes that preceded, and have underpinned Mexico's sweeping market-oriented structural reforms since the late 1980s, anchored in strong fiscal adjustment. It seeks to support the Government's efforts, and provides a body of technical analysis, by: correcting fiscal trends for various business-cycle effects; building a simulation model to assess the sensitivity of the fiscal budget to exogenous shocks under structural scenarios; estimating the direct, and indirect potential impact on the fiscal accounts of closing public infrastructure gaps, and funding contingent liabilities; and, consolidating the financial accounts of the main public sector institutions to assess sustainability of their aggregate debt path. Following a brief review on fiscal issues, the report focuses on selected sources of fiscal instability. Chapter I questions the role of fiscal policy in determining output; the responsiveness of the fiscal policy to the business cycle; and, the "persistence" of fiscal policy vs. financing needs, implying the fiscal policy lacks a design that makes it a stabilizing feature of the economy. Chapters II and III investigate the impacts of major exogenous shocks, and provide estimates of the potential payoffs from increased investment in public infrastructure, calculating the optimal infrastructure stocks implied by the elasticity estimates. Chapter IV addresses the measurement of contingent liabilities, within the traditional budget accounting framework, while Chapter V provides estimates of the debt stock at the state level, suggesting disturbing trends in the size, and concentration of the debt are developing, and, sobering evidence on the health of the sub-national pension systems suggest a large percentage of these are either in actuarial deficit, or will be by 2001.
  • Publication
    Czech Republic : Intergovernmental Fiscal Relations in the Transition
    (Washington, DC, 2001-05) World Bank
    The study presents an overview of the most relevant, current intergovernmental fiscal issues in the Czech Republic, centered on the options available to prod policy planning. The fragmentation at the lowest tier of government is the most striking feature of the administrative structure, thus suggesting a strategic direction for further administrative reforms to sustain fiscal decentralization, by empowering territorial self-governing units, through meaningful autonomy, through the establishment of a multilevel government coordinating body, for the definition of autonomous functions on expenditures, and revenues, and, by creating financial, and legal incentives, to facilitate an asymmetric assignment of revenue, and expenditure. Specific policy actions to clarify responsibilities of the strategic direction for expenditure assignments should include institutional inter-governmental cooperation, and dialogue, through a broad based commission to recommend regional expenditures, and, the Budget Rules Law should be amended to preempt unfounded mandates to local governments. Revenue autonomy should be boosted by increasing predictability of local budgets, through structural policy parameters, restoring tax-effort incentives, and, reviewing the adopted adjustment coefficient for tax-sharing distribution; while a rationalized transfer system, should focus on decreasing the number of specific subsidies, prioritizing programs to stabilize transfers within a medium-term expenditure framework, including the evaluation of a separate Fiscal Equalization Fund to reduce regional fiscal disparities. Institutional framework, and prudential rules would ensure fiscally responsible borrowing, and encourage a competitive financial market.
  • Publication
    Malaysia : Social and Structural Review Update
    (Washington, DC, 2001-01-17) World Bank
    A Structural Policy Review (SPR) for Malaysia, prepared in late 1998 and early 1999, was shared with the government of Malaysia in February 1999 and subsequently appeared in gray cover in June 1999 (report no. 18647). The report covered developments in the following six areas: 1) maintaining sound macroeconomic policies and resuming growth; 2) managing the social impact of the crisis; 3) financial sector restructuring; 4) corporate restructuring; 5) strengthening corporate governance and competitiveness; and 6) strengthening public sector management and performance. The SPR examined these short and medium term structural issues as they came to light during the first 14 months of the crisis. At the time the report was written the government had formulated responses to the crisis across a wide variety of policy instruments. Since then, however, events have evolved. The objective of this report is to review the progress made over the last year on structural issues in each of the six areas covered in the original SPR and place these in the context of what is happening a) in other countries in the region managing the same crisis and b) in the discussions of the new international financial architecture. This perspective is used to assess the quality of the current recovery and structural basis for sustained medium term growth and poverty reduction.
  • Publication
    Sri Lanka : Recapturing Missed Opportunities
    (Washington, DC, 2000-06-16) World Bank
    Despite its healthy economic growth, due to good macroeconomic management, and progress in trade liberalization, Sri Lanka's development is perceived to be well below its potential. Certainly, the civil conflict has taken a heavy social, and economic toll on the country's performance, but also governance, and public institutions have weakened, though maintaining a dominance on the financial sector, and utilities, which further exacerbates productivity, having lost opportunities, in terms of growth, and employment. The study examines recent economic, and social performance, indicating the priority challenges the country needs to face, and vulnerabilities to overcome. Resolving the civil conflict should be paramount. In addition, the role of government needs to be not only revised, but reduced, through strong policy reforms, reduce the fiscal deficit, improve the structure of expenditures, and remove policy distortions in the labor market. The privatization process needs to be enhanced, through reduced numbers of public institutions, effective decentralization, and addressing governance weaknesses. The dimensions of poverty are addressed, exploring vulnerability, insecurity, and marginal poverty, suggesting governance issues in poverty programs, and issues for future poverty strategy. Above all, success lies in the full collaboration of all stakeholders.