Actions to Strengthen the Tracking of Poverty-Reducing Public Spending in Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC)
March 22, 2002
The IMF’s Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF)
Debt Initiative for the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPCs)
Tracking of Poverty-Reducing Public Spending in Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPCs)
Prepared by the IMF’s Fiscal Affairs Department and the World Bank’s Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Network
In collaboration with other departments of the IMF and World Bank
March 27, 2001Use the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the full text in pdf (202 kb).
Tracking of Poverty-Reducing Public Spending
This paper (i) proposes an approach to tracking poverty-reducing public spending under the Enhanced HIPC Initiative; (ii) provides a preliminary assessment of the capacity of budget institutions to track poverty-reducing spending in 25 HIPCs that have reached the decision point or are expected to do so in the coming months; and (iii) suggests a way forward to strengthen the expenditure management capacity of HIPCs in both the short and medium terms.
The paper argues that attempting to track only HIPC assistance would provide a partial perspective, could undermine ongoing efforts to develop effective government budget systems, and may not ensure that poverty reduction targets are met. The proposed approach, therefore, is to develop systems to track the composition of overall government spending on poverty-related programs.
The paper draws on preliminary assessments of the performance of public expenditure management (PEM) systems in 25 HIPCs to identify strengths and weaknesses of those systems. It does not rank countries or their practices against one another but assesses relative needs by establishing benchmarks. These benchmarks are considered important for PEM systems to be able to track poverty-reducing public spending.
The 25 HIPCs surveyed have achieved improvements in their PEM systems in recent years, particularly in the comprehensiveness and classification of expenditures in budget formulation. In spite of the strides made, there is a clear need for further improvement if PEM systems are to facilitate tracking. The preliminary assessment finds that two of the 25 HIPCs should be able to carry out satisfactory tracking and reporting within one year, with a small amount of upgrading of their present systems. A further seven will require some upgrading to achieve the same objective over 1–2 years; and the remaining 16 HIPCs have PEM systems where substantial upgrading is required.
These findings suggest that “bridging” mechanisms are needed to track with existing data while continuing to strengthen PEM capacity. One approach being used in some HIPCs is a “virtual” poverty fund through which selected items in the budget identified as poverty-reducing are tagged and monitored as part of overall budget implementation. Used in conjunction with the monitoring of broad changes in the composition of public spending, virtual poverty funds can help track poverty-related spending identified in PRSPs. While this approach offers a good intermediate or bridging mechanism, HIPCs should also work simultaneously to develop more detailed classifications of poverty-reducing spending by program and to build well-functioning PEM systems for the medium-term.
In most HIPCs, it is likely that countries’ own efforts will need to be supplemented with external assistance to meet the challenge of capacity building. These efforts should build on the significant assistance that the World Bank and the IMF have provided to HIPCs in improving PEM systems, particularly in the last 3–5 years. Bank and Fund staff will follow up the desk assessments with more in-depth discussions with the HIPC governments, both to finalize the assessments and to define poverty-owned programs of assistance. The extent of needs indicated by the preliminary findings suggests that a significant scaling up of the assistance program is likely to be required. Generating additional support, including from other multilateral organizations and the donor community, will be critical to ensure timely and reliable tracking of poverty-reducing public expenditure in HIPCs.
1. Public spending is a critical instrument for poverty reduction in developing countries. To have a significant impact on poverty, however, it must be budgeted and disbursed for activities that help the poor expand their access to resources and their income-earning potential:
2. To review the capacity of HIPCs to track HIPC assistance, a joint World Bank-IMF Public Expenditure Working Group was established in June 2000 under the auspices of the Bank-Fund Joint Implementation Committee (JIC). This paper summarizes the preliminary findings to date of the Working Group.
3. The task of tracking government spending on poverty, in both the short and medium terms, is the country’s responsibility. Each HIPC is expected to design, execute, and monitor its poverty-reduction strategy and related public expenditure program, with the support of the World Bank, IMF, and other creditors and donors. Such country ownership, critical for implementation of good policies and for promoting accountability and good governance, is built into the process of drafting Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs).1
4. Tracking can also contribute to the objectives of other operations supported by the IMF and World Bank. The support provided by the IMF through the PRGF and by the World Bank through PRSCs envisages a shift in public spending toward poverty-reducing programs. Improving the efficiency and effectiveness of existing public spending is thus a key objective of World Bank- and IMF-supported programs. Indeed, there is need to track poverty-reducing public spending in all low-income countries, including those that are not eligible for the Enhanced HIPC Initiative.
5. The management and monitoring of public expenditures is not merely a technical challenge but also fundamentally a deeper governance challenge. Public spending is a powerful tool of governments, and mechanisms are needed to ensure that decision makers make sound commitments and implement them, which requires appropriate incentives for accountability and transparency. Parliaments and civil society are expected to play an active role in this process.2
6. Perhaps the most fundamental principle of HIPC tracking is that it is neither feasible nor desirable to try to track only HIPC funding. Instead, all public spending on poverty reduction needs to be tracked, both to understand the impact of HIPC assistance and to encourage a shift toward more poverty-reducing public spending in the overall budget. Countries with well-developed classifications can rely on existing systems to identify and track poverty-reducing expenditures. Where such systems are not yet comprehensive, setting up a “virtual” poverty fund offers a short-term approach. A virtual poverty fund is a limited classification designed to provide financial information specifically about poverty-reducing spending. Budget line items that are considered to contribute to poverty reduction are “tagged,” and these together constitute the virtual fund. All tagged items are monitored by the ministry of finance as part of overall budget execution. By using the existing budget processes, this approach avoids the pitfalls of a separate institutional mechanism (see below) while enabling tracking of all poverty-related programs.
7. About two-thirds of the HIPCs have decided to use either pre-existing classification systems or a virtual fund to identify and track relevant poverty-reducing spending. Virtual funds are taking several forms:
8. Due to concern that tracking of overall spending may be handicapped by weaknesses of PEM systems in HIPCs, the use of separate institutional poverty funds has sometimes been advocated as a means to channel and monitor the use of HIPC assistance.3 It has also been suggested that such arrangements might serve as a short-term bridge toward broader PEM improvements required to address the weakness of existing systems in HIPCs. However, the use of separate institutional poverty funds is inadvisable for several reasons:
9. Several additional issues arise in considering how to track poverty-reducing spending:
All PRSPs and I-PRSPs seek a shift in the composition of public spending towards poverty-reducing programs. The degree of elaboration and specificity of policies and targets to achieve poverty-reduction goals varies across countries. To date, only four countries have prepared full-fledged PRSPs (Burkina Faso, Tanzania, Mauritania, and Uganda).
The main features of country strategies are as follows:
In general, most propose:
Some also propose:
Targets vary in terms of the coverage of indicators, magnitude as well as the speed. Some countries explicitly target yearly reductions in the incidence of poverty (e.g., Bolivia, Guyana, Honduras, and Mozambique). Intermediate targets often include goals for primary education (typically enrollment rates), basic health care (typically infant, child and maternal mortality rates), and the incidence of transmissible and endemic diseases, including HIV/AIDS), improvements in social infrastructure, and in some countries, reduction in regional and gender disparities.
10. Tracking of poverty-reducing public spending under the HIPC Initiative should include a clear identification of the amount of resources released and an ability to assess the changes in the overall composition of spending. If systems are not in place for a comprehensive and complete assessment, short-run approaches to tracking could be adopted, as discussed below.
11. A first step in tracking the impact of the Enhanced HIPC Initiative is to measure resources released by HIPC assistance. HIPC assistance typically goes directly to the budget (the exceptions being assistance provided by the IMF and by other creditors on government-guaranteed debts of public enterprises). The various modalities adopted by creditors for delivering the assistance (grants, stock of debt reduction, or flow relief in the form of debt service rescheduling) and their impact on fiscal variables will need to be clearly shown in IMF and World Bank documents. Governments should also be encouraged to include data on HIPC assistance in their budget documents.
12. HIPC assistance from the IMF may not immediately show up in the fiscal accounts. IMF HIPC assistance reduces the burden of debt service paid by the central bank in most countries (the CFA franc zone countries being a notable exception). Countries may need to set up special accounts in the central bank to identify such HIPC assistance, and as the assistance is provided, transfers would be made to the budget as grants.8 In the absence of such an arrangement, HIPC assistance would be reflected in profit transfers to the budget, but with a lag. This method may obscure the size of the transfer of HIPC assistance to the budget.
13. Some HIPC assistance may accrue to public enterprises in the form of write-downs of public enterprise debt guaranteed by the government. As with IMF assistance, such debt write-downs will not be included in the government budget unless arrangements are put in place to ensure that this assistance is passed on to the budget.
14. Measuring resources released by HIPC assistance is complicated, because many countries may not have been meeting their full debt service obligations before the Enhanced HIPC Initiative. When actual debt service paid was small or negligible due to accumulation of external arrears, HIPC assistance may be associated with increased debt service payments resulting from the regularization of relations with creditors. However, this regularization of relations could also trigger additional donor inflows.9 A presentation of the total net external flows (external financing less scheduled debt service) to the budget before and after HIPC assistance would thus provide a more accurate picture of the country’s external situation.
15. Therefore, at least two presentations should be adopted to show the fiscal impact of HIPC assistance. First, to measure the change in the country’s external debt servicing commitments, scheduled debt service afterHIPC assistance (after taking into account grants and rescheduling) should be compared with scheduled debt service before HIPC assistance (and after the hypothetical full use of traditional debt relief mechanisms). However, to show the cash impact on the budget, scheduled debt service after HIPC assistance needs to be compared with what was actually paid in previous years. Changes in donor flows should also be shown.
16. Once the overall size of HIPC assistance is identified, a PEM system should be able to determine how the total amount and the detailed allocation of overall poverty-reducing spending changes as a result. This requires a baseline against which to assess changes in overall spending. Ideally, a medium term expenditure framework (MTEF) should be in place prior to HIPC assistance to provide such a baseline. A full-fledged MTEF, a long-term goal of many countries, could include subnational governments, with expenditures classified comprehensively by function and by program. There would also be a clear understanding of the relationship between the MTEF, on the one hand, and intermediate targets and final objectives for poverty reduction, on the other hand. Tracking of the impact of the HIPC Initiative on poverty-related spending would then involve comparing a baseline MTEF, prepared before the receipt of HIPC assistance, with one that includes HIPC assistance.
17. To complement this comprehensive budget framework, governments should have a timely, credible, and transparent accounting, reporting, and auditing system to monitor and report on the budget outturn. A Government Financial Management Information System (GFMIS) is an important component of a comprehensive expenditure management system.
18. Ultimately, tracking of spending should also assess whether the resources spent actually reach the poor and provide them meaningful benefits. Increased budget allocations to poverty-reducing programs may not have the desired impact on poverty if the funds do not actually reach their intended uses or if the programs are poorly designed or implemented.10 It is unfortunately quite difficult to establish a straightforward ex ante link between public spending and poverty reduction.11 Empirical evidence on the relationship between spending on specific categories (such as expenditures on education or health care) and resulting outcomes in terms of social indicators (such as educational attainment and health status) is weak.12 Both overall budget allocations and the efficiency and targeting of actual spending matter in achieving improvements in the outcomes measured by social indicators.13
19. Therefore, in addition to tracking spending, countries should also monitor the actual delivery and impact of public spending. Periodic public expenditure tracking surveys can help to identify how funds actually flow in the budget system. These surveys have had a major impact in properly directing the disbursement of education spending to schools in Uganda, for example, and are being implemented as part of World Bank programs (as part of either lending or analytical work) in many other countries. Incidence analysis, drawing on data from household and service delivery surveys, can help identify the impact of government programs.14 In cases where detailed studies are not available, “quick-and-dirty” incidence analyses can provide useful information.15 The World Bank will help to evaluate the poverty-reducing impact of country policies in the context of Public Expenditure Reviews (PERs) and other relevant instruments.
20. Most HIPCs do not yet have the necessary budgeting and financial management systems fully in place to track budget execution and to monitor outcomes. The medium-term objective must be a strong focus on building PEM systems while establishing “bridging” mechanisms to track as much as possible with existing data.
21. Thus, in the short run, it will be necessary to take a pragmatic approach by building incrementally on existing systems to achieve more effective tracking capacity. Any such short-term approach must, however, be consistent with overall long-term objectives as outlined above and must provide institutional incentives to continue the process. In the absence of a baseline MTEF, multi-year fiscal scenarios (often developed with the assistance of IMF and World Bank staff) can help in assessing likely patterns of spending. Where no plausible baseline exists, simple “before-after” comparisons can point to planned changes in the spending patterns resulting from HIPC assistance.16 Staff papers prepared for the Boards of the Bank and the Fund are already reporting such planned shifts in expenditure composition. Subsequently, the composition of overall public spending (both budgeted and actual) would need to be tracked. Over time, this approach to medium-term fiscal forecasting could be developed into a full-fledged MTEF.
22. Tracking the composition of public spending requires that budget information is comprehensive (capturing, as far as possible, extrabudgetary and subnational operations) and sufficiently detailed to measure shifts in line with poverty goals. In the short run, comprehensive and disaggregated data on spending may be unavailable, and thus only partial, broad-brushed estimates of central government spending may be feasible. For most countries, the analysis of the shift in the composition of public spending will focus in the first instance on broad categories of spending by function. But functional data often give only an indication of shifts toward general social sectors—such as education or health. They may not identify the pro-poor component within such broad categories. In cases where more disaggregated data are available, developments in spending on basic social services with higher pro-poor incidence (e.g., primary education and basic health care) can also be taken into account.
23. As indicated earlier, all programs expected to contribute significantly to poverty reduction could be identified and tagged, for example, in a virtual poverty fund. Items identified for tracking would need to have a potentially significant impact on poverty. A country-owned poverty reduction strategy will normally relate certain expenditures to intermediate targets (e.g., increasing enrollment in primary schools) and ultimately to poverty reduction objectives (see Box 1). In such cases, it may be possible to tag or code transactions identified as poverty reducing for the purpose of tracking. Where this is not possible, particular poverty-reducing spending can be tracked by requiring appropriate spending units to submit data on these outlays by line item.17 Budget allocations, as well as outturns, for selected activities can then be tracked to assess the amount and efficiency of poverty-reducing spending.18 This is feasible in most countries if they make efforts to produce the relevant budget data on a timely basis. As full-fledged PRSPs are prepared, HIPCs may require some assistance to help them align their virtual poverty fund with the poverty-reducing programs identified in their PRSPs.
24. While virtual poverty funds and before-after comparisons offer a useful intermediate or bridging approach, HIPCs should aim to develop a program classification. Under this classification, all spending on poverty-reducing activities would be classified by program—even those activities where spending may cut across functional lines (e.g., HIV/AIDS prevention may include expenditures on both health and education). This would provide a more exact basis to assess the impact on the poor of a shift in the composition of public spending. For the few countries with significant poverty-reducing spending by subnational governments, special arrangements may be required.
25. The IMF/World Bank work on assessing the quality of Public Expenditure Management (PEM) systems in HIPCs has had two initial objectives. The first has been to identify short-term “bridging” mechanisms to enable tracking of poverty-reducing spending using existing budgeting and PEM practices. The second has been to identify and prioritize, both by subject matter and by country, the obstacles to satisfactory tracking and, hence, the capacity-building required to improve budgetary practices and thereby facilitate effective tracking. It should be noted, however, that in some cases the obstacles to satisfactory tracking are related as much to incentives as to capacity. It will be important, therefore, to generate incentives for effective tracking and introduce scrutiny of the tracking process, so as to promote sustainability and reassure the international community that assistance will be effectively used.
26. In late 2000 a joint World Bank/IMF team undertook preliminary assessments of the quality of central government PEM systems in the 25 countries that have reached, or are expected to reach, the decision point under the HIPC Initiative within the next few months.19 These were desk assessments only, and the team drew on answers by World Bank and IMF desk economists to 36 questions as well as discussions between the desk economists and PREM and FAD specialists. The answers were supplemented with information available from other sources, such as resident experts in the field or earlier World Bank/IMF work on capacity building. Questions were also asked on potential obstacles to the effective use of future assistance.
27. The preliminary assessments were designed to identify weaknesses in PEM systems that could hinder the tracking of poverty-reducing public spending, and thereby to begin to prioritize needs in upgrading PEM capacity. They were not aimed at ranking countries or their practices against one another. In most OECD countries, PEM relies upon computerized Government Financial Management Information Systems (GFMIS), and many have well established Medium Term Expenditure Frameworks (MTEFs). These tools are not generally present in HIPCs, cannot be developed quickly, and were not considered as relevant benchmarks for this exercise. Nor could the assessments directly apply the good practices from the Code on Fiscal Transparency. Although many similar considerations apply, the Code covers a wider range of fiscal management issues and focuses principally on the transparency of institutional arrangements rather than the performance of specific tasks.
28. To assess relative needs, benchmarks were adopted that describe the basic requirements for a PEM system to track poverty-reducing public spending. Most benchmarks could, with strong commitment and effort, be achieved within one to three years for some (though not necessarily all) HIPCs.In assessing the quality of PEM systems, basic standards were applied on budget formulation, execution, and reporting. Wherever possible, an objective indicator was applied—for example, whether the reconciliation of fiscal and monetary data is carried out on a routine basis —but a few indicators, such as the quality of internal audit, were inevitably more subjective.
29. The findings are summarized in terms of 15 key public expenditure management issues as shown in Table 1, which also describes the specific benchmarks adopted for each. The findings are then grouped into three broad categories—budget formulation, budget execution, and budget reporting. The summary assessments are based on the percentage of benchmarks met for the broad categories of budget formulation, execution, and reporting, and are summarized in scores expressed as: “little upgrading required,” “some upgrading required,” and “substantial upgrading required.”
30. The preliminary assessments summarized in Charts 1 and 2, suggest that the capacity to track public spending varies considerably across countries: Two HIPCs already have significant capacity to track and report poverty-reducing spending and need only modest upgrading of their present systems. A further 7 countries have made significant strides in recent years but still need further upgrading to achieve this objective. Sixteen HIPCs will require substantial upgrading to meet their goal of tracking poverty-reducing public spending. The specific needs for upgrading vary considerably across countries, and geographical or historical patterns (e.g., between Francophone and Anglophone systems in Africa) cannot be discerned.
Chart 1. Relative Needs for Upgrading Budgetary Systems
Chart 2. Need to Upgrade Systems for Tracking Poverty-Reducing Spending21
31. The needs for upgrading are generally recognized by the countries concerned, and are being addressed by them and by donors. Most HIPCs that have reached the decision point have completion point triggers or program conditions related to public expenditure management. In other cases, regular reporting by individual countries on improvements in their PEM systems could take place in the context of Article IV consultations, the PRGF and PRSP review process, and PERs. Of the 22 countries that had reached the decision point by end-2000, 16 countries 20 have identified needed improvements in PEM systems covering the broad categories of budget formulation, execution, and reporting, as completion-point triggers. These improvements include:
32. Moreover, many HIPCs have already taken steps to strengthen their PEM systems in recent years. Indeed, ongoing work in a number of these countries should significantly improve their capacity to track within the next year. But the capacity of most HIPCs needs to be further substantially upgraded, and institutional incentives will also need to be strengthened in order to promote effective use of assistance and to sustain gains in capacity.
33. Improved capacity in budget formulation may be less difficult to achieve in the short term,22 but it may prove ineffective unless accompanied by reforms in budget execution and reporting that are more difficult to achieve. The results thus suggest that there is a somewhat greater immediate need to focus on budget execution and reporting than on budget formulation. Furthermore, for countries that are implementing many of their poverty-reducing spending programs at state or local government level, upgrading subnational budgetary systems—formulation, execution, and reporting—may be particularly difficult. The detailed findings are summarized in Boxes 2 and 3. In terms of more specific findings:
34. The challenge now is to achieve the systemic institutional reform in HIPCs required for the tracking of poverty-reducing spending. In most HIPCs, it is likely that countries’ own efforts will need to be supplemented with external assistance to meet this challenge.
35. Therefore, in considering how PEM capacity can be upgraded, three principles should apply:
36. Both the World Bank and the IMF have been active in helping countries strengthen their PEM capacity. This assistance has expanded particularly rapidly in the past 4 years (see Box 4), and considerable progress has been made in numerous instances. The emphases of the two institutions in this area have been guided by their relative mandates, the IMF’s involvement being motivated by the need to strengthen overall macrofiscal management, and the World Bank’s by structural and institutional issues related to poverty reduction. Furthermore, their instruments to support PEM reforms are largely complementary, with the IMF providing assistance through focused staff missions and the funding of resident experts, and the World Bank providing assistance through analytic products (see Box 4) and lending for investments in systems upgrading and technical assistance. In some countries, the assistance from the two organizations has led to improvements in budget classification, in the consolidation of central government monies in the central bank as part of the process of developing treasury systems, and in the reporting of budget outcomes. Efforts to help countries develop integrated financial management systems, stronger expenditure commitment controls, MTEFs, and external audit capacity have met with somewhat more mixed results, although substantial progress has been achieved in some instances.
The World Bank has a number of programs and projects in HIPCs which incorporate elements of capacity building in PEM systems, whether at the center of government (e.g., ministry of finance) or in sectors (e.g., health, transportation). This includes adjustment and technical assistance (TA) loans (e.g., to reform public policies in the expenditure area, to assist in building a MTEF, to introduce external audit and civil society monitoring, or to finance and oversee the installation of computerized information systems) and Economic and Sector Work (ESW) such as Public Expenditure Reviews (PERs), often with related public expenditure tracking or incidence surveys; Country Financial Accountability Assessments (CFAAs); Country Procurement Assessment Reviews (CPARs); and Institutional and Governance Reviews (IGRs). In the aggregate, approximately $3 billion of the World Bank’s adjustment lending in both FY99 and FY00 contained conditions regarding public expenditure management reform, and about $250 million of investment lending in each year was designed to provide TA in public expenditure management. About 20 to 30 PERs, CFAAs, and CPARs each are completed annually. The public expenditure tracking survey (PETS), a relatively new World Bank analytic instrument, is particularly appropriate for addressing some short-term HIPC expenditure tracking issues. Five PETSs were recently undertaken in 4 countries, with more planned in several HIPC countries. Their detailed implementation can be adjusted to give more priority to reforms that will enable tracking of poverty-reducing spending. In particular, the new Poverty Reduction Strategy Credits (PRSCs) can target specific aspects of the PEM process.
IMF technical assistance has been delivered through a combination of missions and resident or peripatetic experts. From 1995–2000, FAD undertook 20 such missions, all of which provided reports to countries setting out recommendations for reforms. In addition, over this period, there were between 4 and 9 resident advisors in these countries. Currently, the IMF has a total of 8 resident PEM experts in HIPCs, whose terms of reference can be adjusted to include some of the changes required to ensure satisfactory tracking. IMF TA, including work to strengthen tracking capacity, can be provided as follow-up to completion of the fiscal module of the Reports on Observance of Standards and Codes (ROSC): 8 such ROSCs are planned in HIPCs over the next 6 months.
The World Bank and the IMF should also build on regional efforts directed at strengthening PEM capacity, such as implementation of budget classification standards mandated by the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA).
37. Over time, both the Bank and the Fund have increasingly recognized the need for appropriate domestic incentives, commitment on the part of the authorities, and a realistic time frame. As noted earlier, PEM reform is not merely a technical challenge but is also a complex governance challenge, and it requires commitment and persistence on the part of country authorities and technical assistance providers alike.24 In moving forward, the two organizations will continue to work together to strengthen the complementarity of their work to meet the needs of HIPCs.
38. The task immediately ahead for the World Bank and IMF is to continue to deepen the dialogue with country authorities, both to improve the accuracy and to strengthen country ownership of the preliminary assessments made by the two staffs, and to define possible country assistance programs in light of the revised assessments. This will be carried out by IMF/World Bank country teams, regional or central sector specialists, and in some cases, staff teams that visit HIPCs on other travel. Country-specific action plans will be drawn up for upgrading capacity to track expenditures. These action plans should be core components of PRSPs and reflect commitments under PRGFs, PRSCs, CASs, and other negotiated instruments. Country by country, they should establish a trajectory with realistic intermediate steps. Such incremental steps should be consistent with the medium-term objective of putting in place strong PEM systems.25
39. Some parts of this country assistance program can be delivered by adjustments, with the authorities’ agreement, to ongoing IMF/World Bank work in capacity building. In making these adjustments to ongoing PEM work, IMF and World Bank staff will seek to make full use of missions already planned in this area.
40. Coordination between the World Bank and the IMF and other creditors and donors is also required to meet the demand of countries’ for capacity building. Collaboration between potential providers of assistance in capacity building has already begun. In particular, the EU and the World Bank are discussing the possibility of aspecial Trust Fund to fund assessments, define realistic benchmarks, and formulate action plans for capacity building in the area of PEM, with IMF participation on the Trust Fund Board. Several bilateral donors have also indicated a willingness to be involved in this work. Both the World Bank and the IMF are considering what further mechanisms may be set up to ensure effective coordination of efforts. Systematic coordination with the donor community on a country basis, using the resident IMF/World Bank staff to monitor ongoing relevant work, can ensure that duplication is avoided and objectives are achieved efficiently.
41. However, the weaknesses indicated by the preliminary findings suggest that the program of assistance may need to be significantly augmented, which would entail considerable additional resource requirements. Generating additional support, including from other multilateral organizations and the donor community, will be critical if a more ambitious program of analysis and support is to be realized. The proposal for a multi-donor Trust Fund noted above can help in this regard, and other mechanisms may also need to be considered.
42. In allocating limited resources for PEM work, the World Bank and IMF will take into account the following criteria, to be applied in a flexible manner:
43. The World Bank will continue to assist countries through its lending and analytical work depending on specific country needs, country absorptive capacity, and available resources. While the range of World Bank work in public expenditure analysis and management will remain broad, specific assistance to any particular country will be defined through the Country Assistance Strategy (CAS), which articulates the specific program of lending and ESW adapted to the needs of the country. The World Bank’s staff and budget resources26 have been sufficient for the degree of involvement so far, more resources will need to be devoted to this work in the FY02 budget if country demand increases on the scale identified by the preliminary assessments. Some of the increase in resources can be achieved through a redeployment of existing staff, but expertise in some specialized areas will need to be added to the existing skill base through the hiring of 2–4 additional PEM experts (either staff or consultants).
44. IMF TA will continue to be provided through both missions and the assignment of resident experts. The IMF will focus on ensuring proper classification of poverty programs, and short-term improvements to provide timely and accurate accounting and reporting of spending on these programs. The extent of the demand for FAD TA will only become clear once assessments are finalized, action plans prepared, and the contribution of other donors to this effort is known. In the meanwhile, FAD will need to allocate 4–5 person years in CY2001 to assist country authorities in finalizing PEM assessments and action plans.
45. The country assessments and assistance programs will be reevaluated periodically. IMF and World Bank staff can provide periodic reports to their respective Executive Boards describing progress, work plans, and any further actions. The first report is expected to be provided by the end of this year, at the latest. This report will focus on the steps required to address weaknesses in the PEM system over the short- to medium-term; and on the assistance that has been provided and that will be required.
Ablo, Emmanuel, and Ritva Reinikka, 1998, “Do Budgets Really Matter? Evidence from Public Spending on Education and Health in Uganda,” Policy Research Working Paper No. 1926 (Washington: World Bank).
Ahmad, Ehtisham, and Nicholas H. Stern, 1987, “Tax Reform in India,” in The Theory of Taxation for Developing Countries, ed. by David Newbery and Nicholas H. Stern (Oxford: Oxford University Press).
Demery, Lionel, 2000, “Benefit Incidence: A Practitioners’ Guide” (unpublished; Washington, World Bank).
Devarajan, Shantayanan, and Shaikh Hossain, 1998, “The Combined Incidence of Taxes and Public Expenditures in the Philippines,” World Development, Vol. 26 (June), pp. 963–77.
Feyzioglu, Tarhan, Vinaya Swaroop, and Min Zhu, 1998, “A Panel Data Analysis of the Fungibility of Foreign Aid,” World Bank Economic Review, Vol. 12, pp. 29–58.
Filmer, Deon, and Lant Pritchett, 1997, “Child Mortality and Public Spending on Health: How Much Does Money Matter?” Policy Research Working Paper No. 1864 (Washington: World Bank).
Flug, Karnit, Antonio Spilimbergo, and Erik Wachtenheim, 1998, “Investment in Education: Do Economic Volatility and Credit Constraints Matter?” Journal of Development Economics, Vol. 55 (April), pp. 465–81.
Gupta, Sanjeev, Marijn Verhoeven, and Erwin Tiongson, 1999, “Does Higher Government Spending Buy Better Results in Education and Health Care?” IMF Working Paper 99/21 (Washington: International Monetary IMF).
Gupta, Sanjeev, and Marijn Verhoeven, 2000, “The Efficiency of Government Expenditure: Experiences from Africa,” Journal of Policy Modeling, Vol. 22.
International Monetary Fund, 1999, “Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers—Operational Issues,” SM/99/290, December 10, 1999.
———, 1999, “The Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility—Operational Issues,” SM/99/293, December 13, 1999.
———, 2000, World Economic Outlook, May 2000: Asset Prices and the Business Cycle, World Economic and Financial Surveys (Washington).
Landau, Daniel, 1986, “Government and Economic Growth in the Less Developed Countries: An Empirical Study for 1960–1980,” Economic Development and Cultural Change, Vol. 35 (October), pp. 35–75.
Mingat, Alain, and Jee-Peng Tan, 1992, Education in Asia: A Comparative Study of Cost and Financing (Washington: World Bank).
———, 1998, “The Mechanics of Progress in Education: Evidence from Cross-Country Data,” Policy Research Working Paper No. 2015 (Washington: World Bank).
World Bank, 2000a, Reforming Public Institutions and Strengthening Governance: A World Bank Strategy (Washington).
———, 2000b, “Clean Government and Public Financial Accountability,” OED Working Paper Series No.17 (Washington).
1 The World Bank’s recently completed Strategy on Governance and Public Sector Reform stresses the critical importance of country ownership. See World Bank, 2000a.