CHART OF THE WEEKMission Impossible? Can Fragile States Increase Tax Revenues?

2020-09-25T10:04:09-04:00September 25, 2020|

By Bernardin Akitoby, Jiro Honda, and Keyra Primus

The COVID-19 shocks are proving to be especially challenging for fragile states. Pre-COVID, fiscal revenues were low in such countries and governments were struggling to raise them. Now, COVID-19 is hitting them hard and fiscal revenues are falling. Once the pandemic abates, restoring and further enhancing tax collection is even more important to secure debt sustainability, facilitate the post-COVID-19 recovery, and meet development financing needs in order to meet the Sustainable Development Goals. This is a formidable challenge. However, our new staff research finds that achieving sizable gains in tax collection in fragile environments is not “mission impossible.”

As our chart shows, four fragile states (Liberia, Malawi, Nepal, and Solomon Islands) achieved sizable increases in tax revenues over a decade—by between 7 and 20 percentage points of GDP. Most of these countries had introduced tax reforms when their tax revenues were far below the average for fragile states, but each went on to exceed the average, with Nepal and Solomon Islands doing so by a wide margin.

These experiences emphasize the importance of sustained tax reform efforts. In these cases, tax reforms were pursued over extended […]

Asia Needs More Access to Financial Services to Grow

2019-03-13T14:26:34-04:00September 18, 2018|

By  Sarwat Jahan, Elena LoukoianovaCormac Sullivan and Yongzheng Yang

September 18, 2018

中文, 日本語

A customer pays at a supermarket using her smartphone in Bangkok, Thailand: urban and rural areas in the region widely use mobile payment platforms to access financial services (photo: Li Mangmang Xinhua News Agency/Newscom)

In Asia, the world’s fastest-growing region, expanding access to financial services for more people will mean higher growth, as well as lower poverty and inequality. […]

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