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Fiscal Policy

These courses, presented by the IMF Institute and Fiscal Affairs Department, provide a comprehensive analytical framework to understand and assess public fiscal choices and cover macro-fiscal issues, including revenue and expenditure policies; fiscal frameworks, institutions, and rules; fiscal sustainability, as well as tax policy and administration, expenditure policy, and budgetary framework.

Intermediate

This online course, presented jointly by the Institute for Capacity Development and the Fiscal Affairs, Research, Monetary and Capital Markets, and Strategy, Policy, and Review Departments, in collaboration with the World Bank, provides a comprehensive overview of the IMF and World Bank recent research and hands-on analytical tools for debt sustainability analysis (DSA) and debt management.

This six-module course, offered on a modular basis, lays out the underpinnings of debt sustainability analysis; introduces a probabilistic approach to assessing debt sustainability; examines how to balance the needs for development with debt sustainability concerns focusing on public investment-growth nexus; teaches the new debt sustainability frameworks for the economies that can access the financial markets (MAC DSA) as well as for the countries that benefit from long-term concessional financing (LIC DSF) using real country data; and presents the updated and refined Medium-Term Debt Management Strategy (MTDS) to help ensure sustainable debt.

Intermediate

This course, presented by the Institute for Capacity Development, looks at fiscal sustainability as a requirement for macroeconomic stability and sustainable and inclusive long-term growth. It provides a thorough overview of how to assess fiscal sustainability from a policy and tools perspective. The course also discusses long-term fiscal pressures and risks as well as debt management strategies and the early warning indicators used by the IMF. Special attention is given to case studies of fiscal crises and the subsequent fiscal adjustments.

This course, presented by the Fiscal Affairs Department, discusses key institutions that help governments better assess and manage risks to the government budget. It provides an overview of typical fiscal risks including those created by the COVID-19 pandemic, their scale and relative importance, approaches for identifying and analyzing them, possible mitigating measures, and institutional arrangements for dealing with them. The course also discusses standards for the disclosure of fiscal risks – as prescribed in the IMF’s Fiscal Transparency Code – and the lessons from the IMF’s fiscal transparency evaluations.

This course, presented by the Fiscal Affairs Department, provides an overview of the potential fiscal costs and risks arising from PPPs. It introduces participants to international standards for accounting and reporting on PPPs, as well as good practices for managing them while safeguarding fiscal sustainability. The course will have hands-on exercises, where participants will be able to use the IMF’s and World Bank’s PFRAM 2.0 analytical tool to identify and quantify the fiscal impact of both individual projects and the overall portfolio of PPP projects.

This course, presented by the IMF Fiscal Affairs Department, will help Nepal authorities have a deeper understanding of the international and regional good practices in Budget formulation, medium term and performance budgeting, cash management; and cross-cutting issues. Most sessions will follow discussion on issues and practices in Nepal and possible strengthening of their systems.

This course, presented by the IMF’s Fiscal Affairs Department (FAD) is designed for senior officials who have a leadership role in the area of Compliance Risk Management. The purpose of the course is to consider the importance of a risk based approach to compliance and how this leads to the efficient administration of the revenue system. Discussions will follow on alignment to the organizations mission, vision and values and how this should guide practical compliance work. The course will be tailored towards participants who are responsible for establishing or leading the compliance risk unit within their administration. It will include coverage of theoretical concepts at the beginning of each module and then follow these by practical examples for course participants to undertake. The course will cover the following main topics:

  •  What is risk management and why is risk based management important
  • Undertaking intelligence gathering
  •  Risk differentiation
  • Mitigating risks through a compliance improvement program
  • Development by each administration of plans to implement a risk register and adopt risk differentiation

This course, presented by the Fiscal Affairs Department, offers participants a more extensive exposure to fiscal issues and the macroeconomic effects of fiscal policy than is possible in a standard course on Financial Programming and Policies. Separate lectures are devoted to fiscal accounts and analysis, fiscal forecasting, fiscal sustainability, how the fiscal sector relates to the rest of the economy, fiscal dimensions in financial programming, and governance and fiscal risk management issues. 

Workshops take up about half the course time. These cover fiscal accounting and analysis, fiscal forecasting and sustainability, and design of a fiscal baseline for a case study country.

This course, presented by the Institute for Capacity Development, starts by reviewing the role of government and the objectives of fiscal policy; revisits essential macrofiscal tools and methodologies; and identifies a country’s fiscal framework as the set of institutions that design and conduct fiscal policy. The course stresses the need for high-quality information, transparency, and responsibility in order to hold governments accountable for their medium- to long-term fiscal objectives. The course concludes with thematic presentations by participants.

This course, presented by the Institute for Capacity Development, provides an overview of the concepts and techniques used to analyze how fiscal policy can help ensure macroeconomic stability and sustainable long-term growth. This hands-on course is built around the core macrofiscal topics needed to analyze fiscal policy. The learning units include general empirical findings, Microsoft Excel-based workshops, case studies, and selected topics of regional interest. The course will be of interest to officials who wish to better understand how fiscal policy can affect the economy and the related tools of analysis.

The course will discuss good practices in compilation, consolidation of accounting data for fiscal reporting; and chart of accounts. It will also briefly discuss the Government Accounting Statistics framework and Public Sector Debt Statistics.

This one week course presented by the IMF Fiscal Affairs Department, is designed to learn and discuss good practices and their application in treasury, cash and debt management in SARTTAC countries.

This course, presented by the Fiscal Affairs Department, examines the role of strong fiscal institutions and fiscal governance in ensuring fiscal sustainability. Drawing on international country experiences, it covers three main areas: medium-term budgetary frameworks (MTBFs), fiscal rules, and fiscal councils. Regarding MTBF, the course discusses how a medium-term perspective in budgeting can improve fiscal discipline and expenditure control, and the preconditions and elements for effective MTBFs, including their relationship with fiscal rules. With respect to fiscal rules, the course reviews the pros and cons of different types of fiscal rules and how to select, design, and calibrate them to balance fiscal sustainability and macroeconomic stabilization objectives.

The course also explores how fiscal councils might help strengthen fiscal performance, support fiscal rules, review trends, and disseminate best practices.

This course is aimed at building capacity to develop a medium-term debt management strategy (MTDS), contributing to improved public debt management. It explains the joint International Monetary Fund-World Bank (IMF-WB) MTDS framework and provides comprehensive training on the accompanying analytical tool, MTDS AT. The MTDS AT is useful for analyzing quantitatively the cost-risk characteristics of an existing debt portfolio, as well as the cost-risk trade-offs of alternative financing strategies. Participants are taught how to develop financing strategies by taking account of  the composition of the existing debt portfolio, developments in key macroeconomic and market conditions, potential sources of financing, and linkages with broader medium-term macroeconomic framework, including debt sustainability.

This online course, presented jointly by the Institute for Capacity Development and the Strategy, Policy, and Review Department, in collaboration with the World Bank, provides an overview of the World Bank–IMF Debt Sustainability Framework for Low Income Countries (LIC DSF).

The LIC DSF was developed by the IMF and the World Bank (WB) to help low-income countries achieve their development goals while minimizing the risk of debt distress. This one-module course will allow participants  to understand the LIC DSF, and thus interpret the LIC DSF outputs presented in WB and IMF reports. The course walks  through the steps involved in applying the LIC DSF. First, we identify data requirements and the “realism tools” used for assessing the plausibility of macroeconomic projections. Next, the course addresses how the LIC DSF computes a country’s debt-carrying capacity, which is used for determining thresholds for the debt-burden indicators. When a debt-burden indicator breaches its threshold under either the baseline or stress test scenarios, this signals risk of debt distress. The course concludes by exploring how judgment can be used to arrive at a final risk rating.

 

This online course, presented jointly by the Institute for Capacity Development and the Fiscal Affairs Department, provides an overview of how to assess public debt dynamics under uncertainty. The course discusses how to think about public debt projections when we acknowledge uncertainty about the key variables underlying debt projections (GDP growth, interest and exchange rates, and primary balances).

This one-module course will allow you to produce and interpret fan charts (graphical tools used to describe uncertainty about the evolution of a variable over time). The course will also present the concepts of maximum debt limit (level of debt  beyond which there could be significant negative consequences for the economy) and safe debt (a level of debt sufficiently below the debt limit to provide a comfortable and prudent buffer). The course explains how to use fan charts to derive a safe level of debt and how to assess fiscal risks. 

This online course, presented by the Institute for Capacity Development and the Research Department, explains how to analyze the relation between public investment, growth, and public debt dynamics using two dynamic structural models: the Debt, Investment, and Growth (DIG) model and the Debt, Investment, Growth and Natural Resources (DIGNAR) model. The course presents and discusses the key pieces of these models (the investment-growth nexus, the fiscal adjustment, and the private sector response) and their interactions, which helps learners understand and assess the macroeconomic effects of public investment scaling-up plans, including on growth and debt dynamics. It elaborates on important factors that may shape these effects such as the type of fiscal financing, the rate of return of public capital, the efficiency of public investment, and the capacity of governments to mobilize revenues.

Over the past decade, the DIG and DIGNAR models have gained wide acceptance for policy work. They have complemented the analyses done with the IMF and World Bank Debt Sustainability Framework, with over 65 country applications in the context of Fund-supported programs and surveillance work. They have helped inform policy analysis, based on qualitative and quantitative scenario analyses, on issues not only related to public investment surges but also to fiscal consolidations, cash transfers to poor households, the mix of public current and capital expenditures, the efficiency of public spending and tax administration, and the collapse of commodity prices, among other areas. . The course will illustrate some of these applications and explain how to interpret the output of these policy scenario analyses.

This online course, presented by the Fiscal Affairs Department, provides an overview of PFM systems, institutions, and capacity building in developing and emerging market economies. It focuses on PFM issues in support of macroeconomic stability, inclusive growth, and achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The training covers a wide range of topics and treats PFM as an integrated system rather than a collection of specialties. As such, it focuses on PFM priorities, reform objectives and implementation risks. The course is built on conceptual and practical approaches, and includes testimonials from ministers of finance, practitioners, and other stakeholders from many countries. 

PFMx requires 40-50 hours of work. It is designed in 5 Parts, requiring about 8 hours of work each. It can be taken entirely at your own pace over a period of one year.

This online course, presented by the Fiscal Affairs Department, provides instruction on how to prepare and execute VAT gap estimation model (VGEM) of the IMF’s Revenue Administration Gap Analysis Program (RA-GAP). The course is broken into five modules covering: an overview of the VAT gap modeling framework; using the VAT gap estimation model; measuring actual VAT; constructing the potential VAT base; and running the model, interpreting the results, and troubleshooting.

This course, presented by the Fiscal Affairs Department, explores recent developments in subsidy spending on fuel products, their macroeconomic impact, and the environmental and social implications. Building on country-specific case studies, the course elaborates on key elements of successful reforms, such as measures to protect low-income groups adversely affected by lower subsidies. The course also disseminates tools for measuring subsidies and assessing the distributional impact as well as alternative fuel pricing mechanisms that can help smooth the transmission of international fuel prices to domestic prices while protecting the budget. Participants may be asked to make presentations on their own country’s experience in setting fuel prices and reforming subsidies.

This online course, presented by the Institute for Capacity Development and the Fiscal Affairs Department, focuses on the technical and institutional aspects of revenue forecasting and tax policy analysis. It provides an overview of the quantitative methods that are required to forecast and evaluate the revenue implications of changes in major taxes, namely personal income taxes, corporate income taxes, value added taxes, excise taxes, and international trade taxes. The course also emphasizes the necessity of establishing a strong institutional framework to support the revenue forecasting process.

The course builds on both conceptual and practical approaches and employs hands-on activities to support learning, which includes quizzes and quantitative exercises with real fiscal data.

This course, presented by the Fiscal Affairs Department, provides an overview of the impact of labor taxation and social protection systems on employment outcomes in advanced and emerging European countries, with an emphasis on reform options and associated tradeoffs. Boosting employment is a priority in many advanced and emerging European economies, where labor markets are often constrained by demographic trends, low labor-force participation (particularly among females and young people), and weak productivity growth. Undeclared work remains a significant challenge, leaving many individuals without social protection and reducing revenue collection. For these reasons, many governments are considering reducing labor taxation to boost employment and reduce the size of undeclared work. This, in turn, generates financing needs for social protection systems, particularly in contexts where such systems must be strengthened to provide adequate support to workers and households at scale.

This course, presented by the Fiscal Affairs Department, examines the role of fiscal institutions, such as medium-term fiscal frameworks, top-down budgeting, medium-term budgeting, cash and debt management, independent fiscal institutions, and budget comprehensiveness, and how each promotes fiscal discipline.

This course, presented by the Fiscal Affairs Department, examines the role of fiscal institutions in budget management and in the identification and management of fiscal risks. It discusses key institutions that help governments better understand the types, scale, and probability that the risks confronting them will materialize, and explores how governments can make the necessary institutional arrangements to mitigate many of these risks. It also examines the extent to which identification and quantification of risks can help promote fiscal transparency. The course discusses the Fiscal Affairs Department’s standards and tools related to fiscal institutions and management of fiscal risks, such as the Fiscal Transparency Code, Fiscal Transparency Evaluation, Public Investment Management Assessment (PIMA), PPP-Fiscal Risk Evaluation (P-FRAM) and fiscal stress test, as well as IMF research from the Analyzing and Managing Fiscal Risks paper on identifying, analyzing, and managing fiscal risks.

The training workshop, presentated by the TADAT Secretariat,  consists of presentations explaining (i) the design principle and purpose; (ii) the scoring methodology for each of the performance areas and indicators based on the TADAT Field Guide; (iii) the pre-assessment, assessment, and post-assessment phases of a TADAT diagnostic; and (iv) how a good PAR should be written.

In addition, there are discussion sessions where practice exercises and case studies mimicking real life situations are discussed. Finally, a one-hour TADAT online exam is conducted. Those who pass the exam (75% correct response) get a TADAT certificate. Participants with some international experience, can be invited to participate in conducting TADAT assessment in any other country.

TADAT provides a 360-degree diagnostic of the performance of a tax administration using nine performance areas which contain 28 indicators. The performance assessment should first be used at the national, system-wide level, to identify the key weaknesses and strengths that are generic to the entire tax administration as a whole. Thereafter, especially in a large country like India with a federal structure, regional variations can be identified by conducting guided assessments at the regional level to identify specific weaknesses in different regions.

This course, presented by the Fiscal Affairs Department, is designed to broaden participants’ knowledge of the main challenges governments face  in designing, administering, and monitoring a modern tax system. It briefly outlines the theoretical underpinnings of tax policymaking and discusses in detail its practice and implementation with an emphasis on the region the course is directed to. Participants are encouraged to share their experiences and develop strategies to improve their tax systems and how they are implemented and administered. Through lectures and workshops, the course:

  • Provides an overview of policy design principles and their implications for tax administration—establishing linkages between tax policy and administration and showing how functions feed into one another;
  • Reviews design issues for major taxes that form modern tax systems (e.g., broad-based consumption and income taxes, property taxes, and small business tax regimes) and discusses approaches to tax policymaking in specific economic and institutional settings, such as resource-rich countries and countries in economic blocs/customs unions;
  • Discusses the organization and operations of tax administrations and the management of tax compliance, drawing on experiences within and beyond the region.
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IMF's Fiscal Training Curriculum

by Andrea Lemgruber
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