In April 2021, the IMF Executive Board authorized a net administrative budget for FY 2022 of $1,214 million, along with indicative budgets for FY 2023 and FY 2024. Reflecting a long-standing tradition of fiscal prudence, this was the 10th year in a row that the IMF’s budget remained flat on a real basis, with new activities absorbed through continued reprioritization and savings. The Board also approved a limit on gross expenditures of $1,460 million, which included $210 million in external reimbursements for capacity development activities. Additionally, the Board approved a temporary increase in the carry-forward of unspent FY 2021 resources in the amount of $102 million for possible spending in FY 2022, recognizing crisis-related needs. Capital funding of $79 million was approved for use over three years for building facilities and information technology capital projects.
The budget for FY 2022 supported the IMF’s efforts to address continued crisis needs and address long-term drivers of global change, as well as a shift to a hybrid work model and broader modernization of the organization. Savings from internal reprioritization and the pandemic-related moratorium on travel allowed resources to be repurposed toward crisis needs. While engagement with authorities remained largely virtual, demand for lending shifted from emergency to medium-term operations, with some members facing complex debt challenges; financial system stability assessments under the FSAP and Article IV consultations fully resumed; and the volume of capacity development delivery returned to levels closer to those before the pandemic. The Executive Board approved the IMF’s strategies in the areas of climate change, digital money, and fragile and conflict-affected states, as well as a historic SDR allocation of $650 billion, as previously noted.
Actual administrative expenditures in FY 2022 totaled $1,180 million, or 97 percent of the approved net budget. Capital expenditures in FY 2022 totaled $90 million, including use of previously approved funding. Of this, $21 million was for direct capital spending on facilities, $60 million for information-technology-related expenditures, and $9 million for cloud-related licenses.
Budget by Major Expenditure Category, FY 2021–24
(millions of US dollars)
|FY 2021 Budget
|FY 2021 Outturn
|FY 2022 Budget
|FY 2022 Outturn
|FY 2023 Budget
|FY 2024 Budget
|Buildings and other
|Total gross expenditures
|Total net budget
|Total net budget including carry forward
|Total gross budget including carry forward
|Facilities and information technology
|Cloud Capital Equivalent (CCE)
|Total net budget in FY 2022 dollars
Source: IMF, Office of Budget and Planning.
Note: Figures in columns may not sum exactly to column totals because of rounding.
- Includes donor-financed activities, cost-sharing arrangements with the World Bank, sales of publications, parking, and other miscellaneous revenue.
- Resources are carried forward from the previous year under established rules.
- Facilities and information technology budget appropriations can be spent over three years. The “Budget” column represents the annual appropriation, whereas the “Outturn” column includes spending from appropriations of previous years.
Income model, charges, remuneration, burden sharing, and total comprehensive income
The IMF generates income primarily through its lending and investing activities (see Figure 3.1). Lending income is derived from the charges levied on the use of credit from the GRA, service charges, and commitment fees. In addition, the use of IMF credit is subject to surcharges under certain circumstances, as noted in Part 2. The IMF’s income model also relies on investment income generated from assets in the Fixed-Income and Endowment Subaccounts of the IMF’s Investment Account. Given the public nature of the funds, the IMF’s investment policy includes, among other things, a careful assessment of acceptable levels of risk, as well as safeguards to minimize actual or perceived conflicts of interest. In January 2022, the Executive Board approved an updated investment strategy, which includes responsible investing principles related to environmental, social, and governance considerations. These will be implemented starting in FY 2023.
Reflecting high levels of lending activity, the IMF’s main source of income continues to be charges levied on outstanding credit. The basic rate of charge (that is, the interest rate) on IMF financing comprises the SDR interest rate plus a fixed margin expressed in basis points, as discussed in Part 2. In April 2022, the Executive Board set the margin for the rate of charge at 100 basis points for the period through April 2024.
The IMF also levies surcharges on large amounts of credit. Surcharges apply to credit outstanding that exceeds a defined threshold relative to a member’s quota (level-based surcharges), and they are higher when this threshold has been exceeded for a defined period of time (time-based surcharges) (see Table 2.1).
In addition to charges and surcharges, the IMF levies service charges, commitment fees, and special charges. A service charge of 0.5 percent is levied on each drawing from the GRA. A refundable commitment fee is charged at the beginning of each 12-month period on amounts available for drawing under GRA arrangements (except for the Short-Term Liquidity Line) during that period. The IMF also levies special charges on charges that are past due, for the first six months a member is in arrears.
Remuneration and interest on borrowing
On the expenditure side, the IMF pays interest (remuneration) to members on their creditor positions in the GRA (known as “remunerated reserve tranche positions”). The basic rate of remuneration is equal to the SDR interest rate. The IMF also pays interest at the SDR interest rate on outstanding borrowing under the New Arrangements to Borrow (NAB; see the “IMF Financing” section).
The rates of charge and remuneration are adjusted under a burden-sharing mechanism that distributes the cost of overdue financial obligations equally between debtor and creditor members.
Total comprehensive income
The IMF’s total comprehensive income in FY 2022 was SDR 3.085 billion ($4.147 billion), reflecting primarily income from the high levels of lending activity, endowment income, and gains stemming from the remeasurement of the assets and liabilities of the IMF’s employee benefit plans, in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (International Accounting Standard 19, Employee Benefits).
Arrears to the IMF
Sudan, the last member country with arrears, cleared its protracted arrears (outstanding for more than six months) to the IMF on June 29, 2021, and reached its HIPC Initiative decision point. At the end of April 2022, the IMF had no remaining arrears cases. The IMF has in place a strengthened cooperative strategy on arrears, based on a set of increasingly severe remedial measures to prevent the resurgence of protracted arrears.
The IMF provides financing to its members through three channels, all of which serve the common purpose of transferring reserve currencies to member countries: regular (nonconcessional) lending from the GRA and concessional lending from the PRGT (both discussed in Part 2), as well as the SDR Department. The most salient feature of the IMF’s financial structure is that it is continuously evolving. The IMF has introduced and refined a variety of lending facilities and policies over the years to address changing conditions in the global economy or the specific needs and circumstances of its members. The RST will be an additional channel for lending once lending starts (which is expected to take place later in 2022).
Quotas: Where the IMF gets its money
The IMF’s 190 member countries provide resources for loans primarily through their payment of quotas, which also set their voting rights. Multilateral borrowing and bilateral borrowing serve as second and third lines of defense in times of crisis. These resources give the IMF access to about $1 trillion in nonconcessional lending firepower to support members. Concessional lending and debt relief for low-income countries are financed through separate contribution-based trust funds.
Each member is assigned a quota based broadly on its position in the world economy. IMF quotas total SDR 476 billion (about $639.9 billion). The value of the SDR, the IMF’s unit of account, is based on a basket of currencies (see the “Special Drawing Right” section).
IMF quotas are also reviewed regularly. The 16th General Review of Quotas, which is currently underway and is expected to be completed no later than December 15, 2023, offers an opportunity to assess the overall adequacy of quotas as well as the adequacy of their distribution among IMF member countries. The Executive Board issued two progress reports to the Board of Governors on the 16th General Review during FY 2022, reporting on ongoing discussions. The review is building on the governance reforms of the 2010 review (14th General Review of Quotas), including efforts to protect quotas and voting shares of the poorest members. The current formula for determining quotas, which was approved in 2008 and has been used as a guide, is also under review.
The conditions for implementing the quota increases approved under the 14th General Review were met on January 26, 2016. This resulted in a doubling of quota resources, to SDR 477 billion (about $641.2 billion) from about SDR 238.5 billion (about $320.6 billion). As of April 30, 2022, all but 2 of the 190 members had made their quota payments, accounting for more than 99 percent of the total quota increases, and total quotas stood at SDR 476 billion (about $639.9 billion).
Borrowing by the IMF
As noted, the IMF is a quota-based institution. However, borrowed resources continue to play a key role in supplementing quota resources through the NAB and the bilateral borrowing agreements (BBAs), serving respectively as a second and third line of defense after quotas.
The NAB are a set of credit arrangements with 38 participants and 2 prospective participants. The size of the NAB was doubled to about SDR 361 billion on January 1, 2021, and a new NAB period was set through the end of 2025. NAB resources can be activated when the IMF’s resources need to be supplemented to forestall or cope with an impairment of the international monetary system. Activation requires the consent of participants representing 85 percent of total credit arrangements of participants eligible to vote, as well as the approval of the Executive Board. The NAB were activated 10 times between April 2011 and February 2016, the most recent activation.
As noted, BBAs are intended to serve as a third line of defense after quotas and the NAB. The current (2020) round of BBAs has been in effect since January 1, 2021, with an initial term through December 31, 2023, which may be extended by one more year. As of April 30, 2022, 42 bilateral creditors had committed under their 2020 BBAs to provide the IMF with a total credit amount equivalent to about SDR 138 billion. Resources under BBAs can be activated only if the amount of the IMF resources otherwise available for financing has fallen below a threshold of SDR 100 billion and either the NAB has been activated or there are no available uncommitted NAB resources. Activation of BBAs requires approval by bilateral creditors representing 85 percent of the total credit amount committed.
Special Drawing Right
The SDR is an international reserve asset the IMF created in 1969 to supplement its member countries’ official reserves. It serves as the unit of account of the IMF and some other international organizations. The SDR is neither a currency nor a claim on the IMF. Rather, it is a potential claim on the freely usable currencies of IMF members. IMF members who are participants in the SDR Department (currently all members) may exchange SDRs for freely usable currencies.
The SDR’s value is currently based on a basket of five currencies: the US dollar, the euro, the Chinese renminbi, the Japanese yen, and the British pound. The currencies included are reviewed periodically; the most recent review of the valuation of the SDR basket occurred in July 2022.
As of April 30, 2022, a total of SDR 660.7 billion (equivalent to about $888 billion) had been allocated to members, including the August 2021 allocation of SDR 456.5 billion, the largest allocation of SDRs in history, in the context of the ongoing pandemic. This SDR allocation provided additional liquidity to the global economic system—supplementing countries’ foreign exchange reserves and reducing their reliance on more expensive domestic or external debt. Countries were able to use the space provided by the SDR allocation to support their economies and step up the fight against the crisis.
To amplify the benefits of this allocation, the IMF is encouraging voluntary channeling of SDRs from countries with strong external positions to countries most in need. Some members have already pledged to lend their SDRs to the PRGT, which provides concessional loans to low-income countries. Furthermore, the recently established RST will use channeled SDRs to provide affordable longer-term financing to support countries undertaking reforms to reduce risks, including those related to climate change, and for pandemic preparedness.
In light of the new allocation and to enhance transparency and accountability in the use of SDRs, the IMF issued a Staff Guidance Note in August 2021 on assessing the macroeconomic implications of the new allocation, its statistical treatment and governance, and how it might affect debt sustainability. In addition, the IMF started reporting quarterly on SDR holdings, transactions, and trading and committed to issuing a follow-up report on the use of SDRs in two years.
- Two member countries, Eritrea and Syria, have not yet consented to their proposed quota increases under the 14th General Review of Quotas. Once these countries consent to, and pay for, their respective quota increases, IMF quotas will total SDR 477 billion. ↩
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