Other ESW Reports

293 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
    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
    Indonesia : The Imperative for Reform
    (Washington, DC, 2001-11) World Bank
    In the one hundred days since assuming office, the new administration of Megawati Soekarnoputri has made little progress on structural and governance reforms. The events of September 11 and the slowdown in the global economy worsened the investment climate in Indonesia, adding to the government's already formidable array of challenges. Indonesia's recovery has lagged behind its neighbors and over half its population vulnerable to poverty, more than any other crisis country. Moreover, its fragile banking and corporate sectors, and the precarious state of its government finances, make the country highly vulnerable to risks--with immediate implications for fiscal sustainability. Donors need to be realistic about what is feasible, given strong vested interests, severe institutional weaknesses, the uncertainties arising from decentralization, and a turbulent transition to democracy. Progress is most needed in the key areas of structural reforms, good governance, and empowering and investing in the poor. Together with fiscal sustainability, they are consistent with the premise that stability, growth, and effective government are the key ingredients for long-lasting and sustainable poverty reduction.
  • Publication
    Thailand : Country Development Partnership for Competitiveness
    (Washington, DC, 2001-06-13) World Bank
    Competitiveness has emerged as a key issue confronting policymakers in Thailand. The Government's reform program will be extended by explicitly incorporating into the competitiveness framework measures that address the remaining constraints on competitiveness. The three critical areas that could constrain Thailand's medium term competitiveness include: 1) The need to strengthen the knowledge base--addressing the skills gap, and improving quality and coverage of education; mainstreaming information technology; and enhancing science and technological capability. 2) The need to modernize the infrastructure regulatory framework to improve the efficiency and delivery of public services. A modern and efficient physical infrastructure will help to reduce the cost associated with infrastructure bottlenecks faced by Thai firms. 3) The need to further improve the business environment and enhance competition--corporate governance, trade and investment regimes, competition policy--so that scarce labor and capital can be utilized in the most productive sectors. In addition, an appropriate macroeconomic environment, by signaling the right relative prices (domestic interest rates and exchange rates), will enable Thai firms to respond to emerging market trends.
  • 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
    Kosovo, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia : Economic and Social Reforms for Peace and Reconciliation
    (Washington, DC, 2001-02-01) World Bank
    The report discusses the principal economic, and social reform policy tasks, Kosovo is facing, following the decade-long losses due to civic exclusion of a major part of its ethnic population, the absence of investments, and the neglect of physical, and human capital, a period which culminated in the 1999 conflict. It intends to inform on the framework of the United Nations Interim Administration in Kosovo, i.e., the consolidation of peace, by fostering social reconciliation, towards achieving sustainable economic growth in the province. The key challenges to the political economy address: 1) the formulation of a sustainable budget, increasingly financed through local taxation, hence, with reduced reliance on external donor support. Fiscal institutions need to be developed to ensure efficient public spending; 2) the establishment of trade liberalization, and a customs regime, to increase the potential for growth, and exports, allowing as well to benefit from the arrangements fostered by the Stability Pact, and the European Union; 3) the use of hard currency for internal transactions, and savings, and, the development of a strategy for banking sector development; and, 4) the creation of a reformed framework to encourage growth, by stimulating private enterprise development. Moreover, three aspects of social policy call for: an education policy at par with competitor countries; health policy that strengthens health care delivery, and addresses the effects of recent social traumas; and, social protection regarding a highly vulnerable population.
  • 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
    Indonesia - Accelerating Recovery in Uncertain Times : Brief for the Consultative Group in Indonesia
    (Washington, DC, 2000-10-13) World Bank
    The study reviews Indonesia's recovery so far, which in spite of only modest growth, is taking hold, and its base has expanded beyond consumption. With inflation under control, real wages are rising again, and poverty declined from a peak of over twenty three percent. The rapid export growth, and high oil prices were factors to offset capital outflows, thus, Indonesia's cushion of international reserves increased, lowering the deficit, and limiting financing needs, which resulted in bank, and corporate emergence. But financial markets were doubtful of the real economic developments, aggravated by political turmoil, and the developments in East Timor, which created market uncertainty. However, the study reflects optimism on the country's agenda, encouraged by the Government's program to accelerate recovery, with broad domestic and international support. The study examines policy options for fiscal sustainability, and the role of donors, and, assesses poverty within a constructive strategy for the future, exploring as well governance improvement through legal and judiciary reforms, suggesting the rule of law is still far from being assured. The study recommends changes within the political process, and to its legal system and civil service, as well as changes from the role of the military, to the way Government handles its finances.
  • 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.