This book begins with the current fiscal situation in euro-zone countries such as Greece and Spain who emboldened by the currency integration adopted the policy of borrowing in euro that was available at low interest rates, and fueled their public spending. For a while they enjoyed a rising level of prosperity at the cost of burgeoning public debt. This resulted in the erosion of productivity in these countries making their exports uncompetitive, poor financial governance and lax surveillance of tax collections. Although the Maastricht Treaty creating the euro zone laid down strict norms for fiscal deficit and public debt in relation to GDP for the member countries, these were circumvented by creative fiscal accounting practices and underlying obsolete systems that understated their real levels. When the truth was discovered, there was a near-implosion in the euro area requiring collective bail-out measures by Germany and others to save it from collapse. Failure to adopt high fiscal management system standards that allowed such misleading practices is not uncommon in other regions, such as transition economies and developing countries.
Fiscal policies may vary across countries, but countries should reform their fiscal management systems adopting international standards. The book sets out the common contours of these reforms. The author shares his knowledge and forty years of international experience with countries planning to improve their fiscal management systems."
The book provides practical, operational information and guidance on all areas of public expenditure management, e.g. legal and institutional frameworks, preparation of the budget, implementation, cash management, performance management, accounting, financial information and reporting systems, internal control and internal audit, and external audit. Each part of the book ends with key points and directions for reform. The detailed questionnaire will help practitioners to identify the strong and weak elements in their budget systems so that they can take necessary remedial action. Managing Public Expenditure ends with a comprehensive glossary, bibliography and index.
Richard Allen is an economist and spent most of his career at HM Treasury (the British Ministry of Finance), working mainly in the areas of fiscal policy, EU affairs, public expenditure management and international finance. He has also served as a diplomat in Washington DC and as a board member of the European Investment Bank. He was head of the budget and resource allocation team of the SIGMA Programme and is now adviser on governance at the Asian Development Bank.
Daniel Tommasi is a Paris-based consultant in the the areas of fiscal policy, public expenditure management and macroeconomic management. He is an adviser to governments and a consultant for international organisations, including the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the United Nations Development Programme, and the European Union's Phare and Tacis Programmes. He has worked for over 25 years in some 30 countries in Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Asia, the Pacific and Africa.
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