Seeking Fairness in the Middle East and North Africa: How Taxation Can Help

Pritha MitraBy Pritha Mitra

(Versions in Français and عربي)

Aspirations for greater fairness were at the core of the protests that triggered the Arab Spring almost five years ago—and remain largely unfulfilled today. In our new paper, we show that tax reform can go a long way towards meeting those aspirations.

Taxation is a critical interface between the state and citizens. How much revenue is raised, how the tax burden is distributed, and how taxation is implemented can all powerfully affect both the reality and the perception of economic opportunities—and the degree of trust in government.

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Raising Government Revenue in Africa: A Road out of Poverty

Governments in Africa have a prime objective—to reduce poverty. To improve living standards and create jobs, they need to provide their citizens with better health care, better education, more infrastructure. They need to build hospitals, schools, and to pay doctors, nurses, teachers. All this costs money, and how to pay for this—in a way that is both fair and efficient—is a major challenge. With limits to how much a government can receive as grants or borrow, raising tax revenues will be a crucial element for governments to deliver more of these essential services and, in turn, reduce poverty. Policymakers will have an opportunity to exchange views on the challenges of Revenue Mobilization in Sub-Saharan Africa at a conference in Nairobi this week. To help frame that conversation, here are some ideas about priority areas for action.

By | March 21st, 2011|Africa, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Low-income countries|

Ten Commandments for Fiscal Adjustment in Advanced Economies

We offer ten commandments so that fiscal strategies can be designed to make them consistent with both short-term and long-term growth requirements. Put simply, what advanced countries need is clarity of intent, an appropriate calibration of fiscal targets, and adequate structural reforms. With a little help from monetary policy, and from their (emerging market) friends.

Fair and Substantial—Taxing the Financial Sector

Last week, the IMF gave an interim report to the G-20 finance ministers focused on the options in raising money from the financial sector to pay for the costs of government intervention from which it benefits. That report is confidential, but—you may have noticed—has still managed to attract a lot of attention. In this blog, I set set out how the IMF's thinking on this stands.

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