Fiscal Policy, Debt and Regional Integration Programmes

FDRIDP 01-R: Public Financial Management: Debt, Budgeting, Planning and Performance

Date: March 9 - 13, 2020
Duration: 5 days
Venue: Banjul, The Gambia

Background
Public sector financial management issues have come to the fore in recent times, due to the fact that sound macroeconomic management can only thrive on prudent fiscal policies aimed at maintaining a low budget deficit and a sustainable public debt profile.  The surge in interest is also attributable to recent trends in public sector activity, with movements towards decentralization and delegation of authority in more cases. Consequently, officials have to understand costs, budgets, financial statements about cash flows and expenditures, even when they are not accountants.

In professions across the public sector, people are making choices about investments, about how to achieve efficiency, how to stay within budget and how to improve performance. Thus, it is no longer sufficient to have accounts that show that money has been spent how governments intended. Stakeholders want to know how well it has been spent, whether it has been used efficiently and whether it has achieved the purposes for which it was allocated. This course focuses almost entirely on the expenditure side of public financial management and looks at budgeting, accountability and the changes in financial management.

Objective of the course
This course is therefore designed to provide participants with an understanding of how public budgeting fits into the macroeconomic framework. Specifically, the course is aimed at:

  • • exposing the participants to how public financial management require different forms of public accounting
  • • learning the techniques of budget formulation and the budget process
  • • understanding costs and different ways of measuring them and how costs are used in budgets
  • • increasing their understanding of the budgeting process at the national and sub-national levels and
  • • applying ideas about accounting to the production of various forms of account for public services and public money.
Main Themes
The course will cover a number of key topics such as: Fiscal and Monetary Policy Coordination; Review of Programme and Performance Management (PFM); Planning, Budgeting and Expenditure Control in the Public Sector; Analysis of Budget Revenues and Projections; The Role of Fiscal Policy; International Standards: PEFA, Codes of Fiscal Transparency; The Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF); Gender Equality and Public Finance Management: Issues and Challenges; Public Debt Dynamics and Financial Management Regulations; and Debt Management in Developing Countries: Country Case Studies.
Who May Attend
The course is intended for middle/senior/executive level officials of Central Banks, Ministries of Finance and Economic Planning, and other relevant agencies whose responsibilities include budgeting in countries of the sub-region.

FDRIDP 02-R: Domestic Resource Mobilization and Economic Management

Date: March 23 - April 3, 2020
Duration: 10 days
Venue: Lagos, Nigeria

Background
There has been volatility of aid flows to developing countries in recent years. Hence domestic resource mobilization is increasingly perceived as an important way of ensuring the predictability and sustainability of funds to finance development projects and programmes in developing countries. Domestic resource mobilization is also very critical for public financial management (PFM) as an integral part of economic management. Public financial managers, economic analysts and policy makers must, therefore, place local resource mobilization at the center of efforts and policies in tackling development challenges. In this regard it is important to build the capacities and skills of public sector officials for this task.

Objective of the course
The course is aimed at equipping participants with the required skills and knowledge to formulate policy reforms aimed at domestic resource mobilization for financing projects and programmes for sustainable economic development. It will also give participants first hand appreciation of the challenges associated with the mobilization of resources to finance key infrastructure projects. Main Themes
  • • perspectives on domestic resource mobilization and economic management
  • • Domestic resource mobilization as an instrument of sustainable and inclusive development
  • • Domestic resource mobilization: opportunities and challenges
  • • Closing the Revenue Gap
  • • Challenges in increasing domestic resource mobilization in low-income countries
  • • Resource mobilization at the sub-national government level
  • • taxation objectives and tax policies as part of the overall fiscal framework
  • • assessment and diagnostics tools for tax systems and policies
  • • reforms of tax/customs administrations as part of PFM agenda
  • • measuring revenue potential and tax effort as well as forecasting revenue
  • • tax legislation, tax exemptions and tax expenditures
  • • tax policy and administrative issues
  • • Reforming the tax systems for domestic resource mobilization
  • • taxation at local level and of informal sector
  • • taxation of natural resources such as the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) and Country-by-Country Reporting (CBCR) and
  • • taxation of multinational corporations (notably issues around transfer pricing).

Who May Attend
The course is organized for mid-career and senior level government officials working in Central Banks, the Ministries of Finance and Economic Development who are a responsible for budgeting, tax policy, resource mobilization, financial sector and investment policy.

FDRIDP 03-R: Fiscal Rules and Credit Risk Assessment

Date: April 6 - 10, 2020
Duration: 5 Days
Venue: Accra, Ghana

Background
A fiscal rule imposes a long-lasting constraint on fiscal policy through numerical limits on budgetary aggregates. Fiscal rules typically aim at correcting distorted incentives and containing pressures to overspend, particularly in good times, so as to ensure fiscal responsibility and debt sustainability. In line with these, WAIFEM will organize a five-day Regional Course on Fiscal Rules and Credit Risks Assessments in Accra, Ghana.

Objectives of the course
The main objective of this course is to broaden participants’ understanding of various aspects of fiscal rules and risks assessments. Specifically, the course is intended to improve the practical skills of participants in applying advanced risk assessment techniques; strengthen their ability to balance risk against cost; and to appreciate the role of risk assessment and control measures.

Benefits to Participants/Institutions
At the end of this five-day training, participants will be expected identifying and classifying the key types of contingent liabilities in their various countries. In addition, participants demonstrate their ability to put the lessons learned in the presentations into practice through case studies, group work and hands-on exercises. The presentations from this training will serve to provide a framework for thinking through the risk management issues, to provide some basic understanding of technical issues, and to serve as a base for the hands-on portion of the training.

Who May Attend
Government risk managers, particularly from debt and fiscal risk management offices, from WAIFEM member countries.

FDRIDP 04-R: Regional Course on Financial and Economic Issues in Regional Integration

Date: May 11 - 15, 2020
Duration: 5 Days
Venue: Abuja, Nigeria

Background
In recent decades, the urgency for regional integration has been underscored by a combination of external and internal factors. Regional financial and economic integration is therefore a very pertinent issue especially in Africa, considering the weaknesses in the continent’s existing political and economic structure which has resulted in deepest levels of poverty, lowest share of world trade, and weakest development of human capital and infrastructure, among other challenges. Economic and financial integration comes with enormous benefits such as lower transaction costs for business, lower risks associated with investments, expansion of markets, pooling of regional resources, better utilization of economies of scale in production, etc.

One area that requires integration in our sub-region is the capital market. Despite the presence of Capital Markets in some member states, other Central Banks within the sub-region are grappling with the challenges of the establishment of viable Capital Markets, as well as retail payments systems (National Switches), both of which are critical for the integration of our financial markets. Some of the challenges include dearth of knowledge in the operation of Capital Markets, smallness in size of these economies, and the lack of competitiveness.

Similarly, the payment systems of the various countries within the sub-region need to be harmonized. Payment systems play a critical role in the functioning of the financial system. Poorly functioning payments systems slow the development of securities markets by increasing settlement costs, raising the costs attached to domestic and cross-border trade. Due to the advantages provided by scale, a regionally integrated payments system may be more efficient and more stable than a purely national one. Although some achievements have been made by The Economic community of West African States (ECOWAS) and its agencies towards the regional integration process in the sub-region, there are still numerous challenges to overcome.

Financial and economic integration in our sub-region will go a long way in addressing the issue of efficiency and competitiveness. This course is therefore designed to sensitize participants on the urgent need for the integration of the sub-region’s economic and financial system, progress made so far, issues and challenges and on other related issues.

Objective
The main objective of this course is to broaden participants’ understanding of various aspects of economic, monetary and financial integration.

Broad Themes
The following broad themes will be covered:

  • • Overview of financial and economic integration: Case studies from other regions
  • • Requirements for economic and monetary integration
  • • The convergence process in the sub-region: The role of WAMZ
  • Trade, financial and monetary integration
  • • Political economy aspects of integration
  • • Cross-border banking services within the sub-region
  • •Towards integration of the capital markets
  • • Integration of the payment systems
  • • Combating money laundering and the integration process
  • • Challenges of Integration of our Capital Markets through the steps already underway by the West African Capital Markets Integration Council (WACMIC)
  • • Establishment of viable Capital Markets in the remaining member states
  • • Critical role of capital markets
  • • Addressing the critical role of retail payments (use of credit and debit cards and Point of Sale Terminals (POS) across the sub-region) and
  • • Correspondent banking relationships and the challenges of establishment of settlement banks in the sub-region.

Who may attend
Attendance is for senior/middle level officials in central banks, (research, supervision, monetary policy, legal, financial surveillance departments, etc.), and other related ministries and agencies that take part in the regional integration and financial markets arrangement.

FDRIDP 05-R: Regional Course on Fiscal Policy for Financing Sustainable Development in West Africa

Date: June 1 - 5, 2020
Duration: 5 Days
Venue: Lagos, Nigeria

Background
Central to fiscal policy lies the four major functions in an economy, namely; allocation, distribution, stabilization and development which play a critical role in financing structural transformation and inclusive, equitable and sustainable development in West Africa. The allocative and distributional role of fiscal policy is a vital feature for structural transformation including social development. The emergence of vast new opportunities that could be unleashed through trade and financial integration in Africa and technological progress has increased returns to human capital and the skill premium. This provides an opportunity for effective fiscal policy that ensures social outcomes that are equitable in terms of opportunity and outcome. Additionally, the increasing role of the private sector in providing social services and their role in achieving the SDGs needs to be factored in while recognizing the sector’s limitation in meeting the needs of low income sectors and workers who most in need of public social services.

Increasing the flow of taxes and non-tax revenue into government treasuries is key to achieving the ambitious SDGs (World Bank (2016). This highlights that countries must put more emphasis on developing and implementing effective fiscal policies. To achieve this, West African countries must deal with the various challenges in tax policy formulation and administration including addressing tax evasion and avoidance by businesses and professionals, high levels of informality, weak revenue administrations, poor governance and illicit financial flows (IFF). Specific attention will be focused on addressing the differential impact of taxation on women and men (girls and boys), as well as on the poor and vulnerable groups.

Objectives of the Course
The course will provide a strategic and multi-sectoral approach to how government revenue (taxes and non-tax), spending and public debt can be marshalled in pursuit of sustainable development goals in West Africa. It will provide a robust assessment of the role of fiscal policy in financing sustainable development in West Africa and evidence-based reference material for policymakers and other stakeholders on harnessing fiscal policy finance for West Africa’s sustainable development.

Accordingly, the course aims to provide policymakers with clear understanding of the following:

  • • Rationale and evidence base (including the financing gap) on the need to harness fiscal policy for funding West Africa's implementation of SDGs
  • • Scenarios where different categories of taxes can facilitate mobilization of resources (domestic and foreign) for development financing
  • • Specific challenges (potential pitfalls to macroeconomic stability and debt sustainability) and opportunities, as well as enablers for strengthening linkages between various instruments of fiscal policy and sustainable development pillars, as well as the possible impact on productivity, competitiveness, employment generation, access to social services and environmental sustainability
  • • Best practices to identify lessons and conducive environment for optimizing the fiscal policy for West Africa’s equitable, inclusive and sustainable development
  • • Fiscal policy framework for financing development and implementation of SDGs and
  • • Interpret statistical analysis results and write reports.

Broad Themes
The course themes include:

  • • Recent Economic and Social Developments in West Africa
  • • Fiscal Policy and Development Finance in West Africa
  • • Tax policy and performance in West Africa
  • • Tax administration in West Africa
  • • Multinational corporations, tax evasion and natural resource management in West Africa
  • • Non-Tax Revenues in West Africa and
  • • Fiscal sustainability and debt.

Who May Attend

The course targets government officials, they include: Middle-level to senior policy officials working in the MDAs; Middle and senior level policy officials and managers directly connected with or responsible for tax system, financing, managing, monitoring and evaluating development in their countries.

Applicants to the course are expected to have, as a minimum, a bachelor’s degree preferably courses related to Finance, Planning, Project Management and Monitoring Project Evaluation.

FDRIDP 06-R: Regional Course on Developing Debt Markets (Domestic Debt and International Capital Markets)

Date: August 17 - 21, 2020
Duration: 5 Days
Venue: Monrovia, Liberia

Background

Most countries in the West African sub-region have given their monetary authorities more independence and/or developed policy frameworks that put greater emphasis on controlling inflation. The development of domestic securities markets and, more generally, the range of issues affected by the ongoing changes in the financial system of countries in WAIFEM region, not only have helped complete markets but have also modified the impact and the extent of monetary control. Such changes are likely to have altered the transmission mechanism of monetary policy. Furthermore, Capital account liberalization has dramatically expanded access to international financing by raising capital through the utilization of the global debt capital markets and the syndicated loan markets.

Objective of the Course

The objective of the course is to provide comprehensive training on development of domestic securities market and borrowing from international capital markets. It addresses the issue in the transformation of financial markets and the role of central banks, and ministries of finance and debt management offices in developing domestic securities markets.

Broad Themes

The broad themes to be covered include the following:

  • • The need to develop a domestic bond market in developing countries and prerequisites for the development of well-functioning bond markets
  • • Types of securities issuance, e.g., public versus private placements, domestic, foreign and international bonds
  • • Bond markets in emerging and developed markets
  • • Fostering domestic financial markets: policies and policy coordination
  • • Structural change in the banking sector and the interest rate channel
  • • Legal and regulatory frameworks for security markets
  • • Repurchase (“repo”) transactions
  • • Dollarization and the transmission mechanism
  • • Challenges in developing a functional bond market, and ways to overcome them
  • • The general stages in the development of a bond market and ways to deepen the bond market and to enhance liquidity
  • • understanding the key drivers of country and sovereign risk in both mature and emerging markets
  • • Rating agency sovereign methodology, capacity and willingness to service debt, foreign and local currency ratings
  • • Transfer and convertibility risk: FX and local currency ratings, country ceilings
  • • Market indicators: CDS, bond and equity indicators
  • • Types of securities issuance, e.g., public versus private placements, domestic, foreign and international bonds.

Who May Attend

The course is targeted at senior/executive level officials of the central banks and ministries of finance, debt management offices, treasury and investment officers of commercial banks, portfolio investors, managers of discount houses, pension and trust funds managers and administrators, chief financial executive of corporate enterprises, primary dealers, brokers and analysts involved in securities trading in countries of WAIFEM member banks.

FDRIDP 07-R: WAIFEM/COMSEC Training on Debt Recording, Reporting, Monitoring with Meridian

Date: October 12 - 16, 2020
Duration: 5 Days
Venue: Freetown, Sierra Leone

Background

In recent years, the public debt management arena has undergone significant transformation through new developments such as stronger emphasis on medium term debt management strategy development, increasing awareness of risk management, growing importance of the management of contingent liabilities, new reporting standards and the need for improved transparency.

Given the changes in public debt management coupled with significant advancement in technology, the Secretariat’s Debt Management Unit (DMU) developed a new public debt management system, ‘Meridian’, which incorporates advanced and improved functionalities to better address emerging debt management requirements while also taking advantage of the latest state-of-the-art technologies.

The software adopts a holistic approach through the extensive coverage of various types and categories of debt liability and debt related financial instruments for sovereign as well as sub-national governments.

Specifically,
  • • Meridian is a comprehensive solution that promotes effective and pro-active public debt management, it offers the following functions and features
  • • Public and publicly guaranteed debt, lending portfolios as well as private sector external debt can be recorded, managed and analyzed
  • • Customizable deployment of the solution in Centralized, De-Centralized and Hybrid environments defined by member countries’ IT and institutional infrastructure
  • • Configurable around the delivery to key stakeholders i.e. Ministry of Finance, Debt Management Office, Central Bank, various Funding Agencies and Project Implementing Agencies thus streamlining the information flow between the various entities
  • • Provides the ability to model any workflow arrangement/institutional structure for debt management
  • • Provides flexibility in adding and maintaining a wide range of financing products including any future financing products through the use of instrument templates;
  • • Organized around a central repository of data from which key stakeholders can access information. This ensures that real time data is always available even to remote offices
  • • Driven by alerts and notifications, integrated with mail exchange systems to support the business workflow process
  • • Fosters accountability and transparency through data driven workflow and
  • • Integrates with External systems to provide straight through processing and accurate data to stakeholders.
Objectives

The aim of the course is to provide training in the use Meridian including its operational functions to West African Countries. The course will assist governments to train their personnel to run good debt data base consistent with sound practices. The training will contribute to the widening of the regional pool of experienced CS-DRMS and Meridian users. Thus, it will:

  • • Empower debt managers with some advanced tools to manage the risk of their debt portfolio
  • • Improve the accuracy of debt service projections by better aligning the software to creditor practices and product terms and conditions
  • Offer a rich set of reporting facilities for informed analysis and better decision making

Who May Attend

The course is targeted at officials of the ministries of finance and debt management offices involve in debt recording and analysis, staff of central banks involved in external and domestic debt recording and analysis, controller and accountant general offices etc among others.