Strengthening Fiscal Risk Management and Oversight of Public Corporations
Comprehensive, reliable and timely fiscal data covering all public entities, stocks and flows are a necessary foundation for the adequate disclosure and analysis of existing fiscal risks. However, current fiscal risk management practices in SEE region are often ad hoc and too focused on imposing limits on the creation of exposures. In order to enhance their capacity to mitigate and manage fiscal risks, SEE countries need to expand their toolkits for fiscal risk management and adopt the use of instruments to transfer, share or secure these risks.
ABOUT THIS LEARNING INITIATIVE
This IMF/CEF workshop is the fifth regional learning initiative delivered under the IMF's “Strengthening Economic Governance and Public Financial Management” program funded by the EU.
This workshop discussed the results of recent IMF Fiscal Affairs Department (FAD) analysis that concluded that comprehensive analysis and management of fiscal risks can help ensure sound fiscal public finances and macroeconomic stability. This was underscored by the global financial crisis and the more recent collapse in commodity prices, which starkly illustrate the vulnerability of public finances to risk. The FAD analysis shows that over the past quarter century, governments experienced on average an adverse fiscal shock of 6 percent of GDP once every 12 years, with some of the largest stemming from financial crises.
The workshop reviewed the range of fiscal risks that governments in SEE region are exposed to, how well they are identified, analyzed and monitored and how this can be improved. Throughout the workshop, participants assessed their own country’s fiscal risk management practices against Pillar 3 of the IMF’s code of Fiscal transparency and learned how other countries, both across the globe and regionally, are developing their fiscal risk management capacities and institutions to more proactively manage these risks.
During the workshop particular attention was devoted to the risks that public corporations may present to government finances, since their liabilities are often explicitly or implicitly government guaranteed and required to carry out quasi-fiscal operations and contribute to arrears across the public sector. The workshop examined typical legal, institutional and governance frameworks for public corporations, and the role of the ministry of finance in financial oversight. Practical exercises demonstrated how the financial performance of public corporations can be assessed and how this can be reported.
Finally, the workshop looked at international practice in fiscal risk reporting and the measures governments can deploy to manage fiscal risks.
What have you learned?
The workshop’s primary objective was to enable better understanding of the importance of actively managing a government’s fiscal risk; what constitutes a good fiscal risk reporting framework; and techniques for assessing risk, particularly from public corporations.
After attending this workshop, participants were able to:
- Contribute to raising awareness and consensus around the need for greater focus on fiscal transparency and fiscal risk;
- Understand how to evaluate strengths and weaknesses of a government’s fiscal risk management practices and identify priority areas for enhancing a government’s fiscal risk management;
- Categorize public corporations, and identify the potential risks emanating from them;
- Design a fiscal risk statement, data sources and appropriate institutional arrangements for active fiscal risk management and reporting;
- Describe the IMF’s fiscal transparency code and evaluation process, and the benefits that it can bring to a government’s fiscal risk management practices.
The event was held in English. Since it was designed to be partaking, the participants were actively engaged in discussions and exercises, and encouraged to share their country’s practices in fiscal risk management and oversight of public corporations.
The workshop is primarily designed for senior level public officials working at ministries of finance or economy, and other government institutions, such as research institutes and fiscal councils, who actively deal with:
- macroeconomic and fiscal forecasting,
- medium-term and annual budgeting policy formulation,
- oversight of public corporations,
- and fiscal risk management.
No fee will was charged. Travel, accommodation, and meals were covered for up to three officials per beneficiary country (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo*, Montenegro and Serbia). Additional participants from beneficiary countries or those applying from the other CEF constituency countries and beyond had to obtain funding from their sending institution or other donor(s).
Amanda Sayegh, Technical Assistance Adviser, M1 Division, FAD, IMF
Ms. Sayegh is an economist in the Public Financial Management Division of the Fiscal Affairs Department in the IMF. Ms. Sayegh has more than 15 years’ experience in public policy, primarily in the areas of macroeconomic policy, budget policy and public financial management. Ms. Sayegh has advised governments in the areas of budget preparation, fiscal frameworks, fiscal risk management, balance sheet management, budget reporting and expenditure reviews. Prior to joining the IMF in 2015, Ms. Sayegh was Minister-Counsellor (Economic) at the Australian Embassy in Washington D.C. She has also had an extensive career with the Australian Treasury Department as a budget and economic policy advisor and was the Deputy Chief of Staff and Principal Advisor (Budget and Economic) to the Australian Treasurer during the period 2007-2011. Ms. Sayegh was a key contributor to the IMF’s Policy Paper on “Analyzing and Managing Fiscal Risks – Best Practices,” published in 2016.
Suzanne Flynn, PFM Advisor for South East Europe, FAD, IMF
Ms. Flynn works for the IMF as Regional PFM Advisor and has been based at the CEF since November 2016. She is technical assistance advisor for public financial management in South East Europe. She joined the Fiscal Affairs Department of the IMF eight years ago after six years working in East Africa with PwC and in the Ugandan Treasury. Ms. Flynn started her career in the UK public service in 1987, starting in central government, and qualifying as a CIPFA accountant in local government in 1991. Before embarking on her career in Africa, she spent 3 years working for CIPFA in London. Ms. Flynn has advised a number of Asian and Central Asian countries, and worked with several governments in Europe. She was co-author of two FAD technical notes on management of expenditure arrears and transitioning to accrual accounting.
Eivind Tandberg, International and regional PFM Expert
Mr. Tandberg has more than 30 years of experience in public finance, public administration, advisory services and research. He has a master’s degree from the Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration. Mr. Tandberg has been deputy director general in the Norwegian Ministry of Finance, unit chief at the World Bank, deputy division chief at the IMF, IMF Regional PFM Advisor for South-East Europe (2005 – 2008) and director general in the Oslo City Government. He is currently a partner in Norwegian firm Vista Analysis. Eivind Tandberg has contributed to evaluation and development of public management and governance in 140 countries and has worked in 80 of these. In recent years, he has been particularly engaged in issues related to public investment, to governance of public institutions and public corporations and to management of fiscal risks.
This IMF/CEF activity will be financed with EU support under the program Strengthening Economic Governance and Public Financial Management, which supports fiscal reforms of the IPA beneficiaries in the Western Balkan. Complementary financial support will be provided by the Ministry of Finance of Slovenia.