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George Hayduke

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  1. I don't even know what to say. Oh well, I'll blurt it out anyway. You'd think that after 10 plus years us old farts with close to 4000 posts each would have been gran-fathered/gran-mothered into a golden years badge instead of 'Rookie'. Being called a rookie on this state of the art site is the same as some upstart at best buy addressing me as Pops. I'm disappointed and I don't like it. Iraqi Dinar 1459124.7460
  2. IMF Executive Board Reviews Iraq Misreporting, Remedial Steps March 4, 2021 Washington, DC: The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has reviewed a non-complying purchase by Iraq of SDR 584.2 million following the completion of the second review under the 36-month Stand-By Arrangement (SBA) on August 1, 2017. The SBA was approved on July 6, 2016 for a total amount of SDR 3.831 billion (230 percent of quota) and expired on July 7, 2019. At the time of the second program review under the SBA, the authorities requested a waiver of applicability for end-June 2017 performance criteria (PCs) on public debt and the non-oil primary balance, information on which was not available. The waiver of applicability was granted on the condition that the information provided on Iraq’s performance under these criteria at end-December 2016 was accurate. The non-complying disbursement arose as a result of nonobservance of the condition of accuracy for the waivers of applicability of the PCs on public debt and the non-oil primary balance granted by the IMF Executive Board at the time of the second review under the SBA. After the completion of the second review, it was revealed that the end-2016 government-guaranteed debt was under-reported by 1.3 percent of GDP while the non-oil primary fiscal balance was over-reported by 0.1 percent of GDP. The authorities have closely collaborated with IMF staff to remedy the situation and strengthen their control of government guarantees. Specifically, they undertook a detailed exercise to verify the end-2016 stock of government guarantees certified by a decision of the Council of Ministers. In 2019, the authorities enacted a new Public Financial Management (PFM) law, which requires all government guarantees to be approved by Parliament as part of the annual budget process. Furthermore, Iraq’s Council of Ministers approved a sound regulatory framework for vetting and issuance of government guarantees which, among other things, envisages establishing a database of government guarantees and reconstituting a Guarantee Committee as the primary body responsible for vetting government guarantees. The complexity of these measures and the political events in Iraq explain the time required to bring this case to a conclusion. In view of the authorities’ corrective measures, the Executive Board granted waivers of nonobservance of the condition of accuracy of the information reported on the end-2016 PCs on public debt and the non-oil primary balance. The Executive Board also found that the inaccurate reporting on the observance of the end-2016 PCs gave rise to Iraq’s breach of its obligations under Article VIII, Section 5, of the IMF’s Articles of Agreement, which requires member countries to furnish such information as the Fund deems necessary for its activities, including information that is necessary to assess observance of PCs. In view of the corrective measures implemented by Iraq, the Executive Board decided not to require any further remedial action in connection with the breach of obligations under Article VIII, Section 5.
  3. Iraq : Technical Assistance Report-Guarantees and Extra Budgetary Funds Management Author/Editor: International Monetary Fund. Fiscal Affairs Dept. Publication Date: February 5, 2021 Electronic Access: Free Download. Use the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to view this PDF file Summary: Iraq is substantially exposed to fiscal risks related to guarantees issued by the State, with a stock of guarantees related to foreign currency service payments and debt of USD 21.7 billion at end-June 2017 and a stock of domestic guarantees that remains to be fully assessed. In 2017, the Council of Ministers approved a set of procedures to tighten controls on the approval of State guarantees. Nevertheless, misreporting cases highlight the need to further strengthen capacities and institutional arrangements to effectively identify and monitor the fiscal implications of guarantees, including in the context of EBFs’ operations. Series: Country Report No. 2021/032 Full report 38 page report
  4. With the recent talk about establishing truth commissions, also known as a truth and reconciliation commissions or truth and justice commissions if Biden/Harris were to win, one would be wise to read The Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.
  5. Apples and Oranges. There is no such thing as a Constitutional Christian, nor is there such a thing as a Spiritual Constitutionalist. Those are just labels used by the same type of people on both sides intending to cast aspersions while building a false foundation of 'Rightness.' They should look in the mirror. One is either in Christ or not. A Christian is a redeemed soul walking through sanctification toward glory. Persons with good religious intentions to make the world a better place through politics miss the point. While the world does benefit from God's Grace and Mercy, it is an error to think that man alone and separated from the Holy Spirit's power can accomplish anything other than idolatry and pride. I want my country to be morally stable, but do I need to develop or become party to a group of so-called well-intentioned religious politicians or social warriors? No, I just need to pray.
  6. "Does hate have a place in my life?" Yes. "Ye that love the Lord, hate evil: he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked." Psalm 97:10-12 KJV "Do I harbor any feelings of hatred toward myself or anyone else?" No and yes, I love my neighbor as myself but I hate men who love evil. So, President Trump is a hateful, hurtful, egotist with deep dark issues. Well, it is truly terrible isn't it? Personally I don't see it but I'm willing to review the charges laid against him if only the parrots would quit shrieking and pony up some tangible evidence. Sorry Shab's I know you were quoting Huffy.
  7. Iraq releases thousands of prisoners to curb corona-virus spread More than 16,000 prisoners have been released early as part of measures to stop the spread of the the novel corona-virus pandemic, Iraq's High Judicial Council announced. More than 16,000 prisoners have been released from Iraq's prisons since the early spread of the novel corona-virus (COVID-19) pandemic, the High Judicial Council said Thursday (April 16th). In another measure to curb the deadly virus, the Ministry of Justice has submitted to the Iraqi Cabinet's Secretariat a list of 1,007 convicts to whom it has issued a special pardon, including 57 juveniles. https://diyaruna.com/en_GB/articles/cnmi_di/features/2020/04/17/feature-02
  8. By Christine Lagarde, Managing Director, International Monetary Fund Fourth Arab Fiscal Forum, Dubai February 9, 2019 Good morning—Sabah Al-Khair! I am delighted to be back in Dubai, this city of tomorrow, where you—its economic leaders—are dedicated to realizing the vision of a better tomorrow. This vision is predicated on prosperity that is shared by all, benefiting the poor and the middle class, citizens and immigrants alike; and opportunities that are open to all, including women. It is a vision of fairness over cronyism and partiality, and of trust that government policy is oriented toward the common good. This is a big vision. But as Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum once said “The bigger your vision, the bigger your achievement will be…we cannot let fear keep us small. We have to be brave to be big." As you know so well, fiscal policy plays a vital role in creating and nurturing this vision of sustainable and inclusive growth—especially as encapsulated in the Sustainable Development Goals. This is because we need fiscal space for spending on health, education, social protection, and public investment—all key priorities in this region. This is why I wanted to come back to the Arab Fiscal Forum—my fourth time now. In past years, I talked in detail about fiscal policy—the spending and revenue measures needed to achieve sustainable and inclusive growth. This year, I want to go one level deeper—into the foundations of fiscal policy and good fiscal management. Because without a stable foundation, even the best policies can flounder. Without a stable foundation, fiscal policy will lack credibility. In this vein, I will address two key pillars of good fiscal management: (i) strong fiscal frameworks; and (ii) good governance and transparency. Prelude: Global and regional context Before I do this, let me say a few words about the broader economic context bearing on fiscal policy in the region. Unfortunately, the region has yet to fully recover from the global financial crisis and other big economic dislocations over the past decade. Among oil importers, growth has picked up, but it is still below pre-crisis levels. Fiscal deficits remain high, and public debt has risen rapidly—from 64 percent of GDP in 2008 to 85 percent of GDP a decade later. Public debt now exceeds 90 percent of GDP in nearly half of these countries. The oil exporters have not fully recovered from the dramatic oil price shock of 2014. Modest growth continues, but the outlook is highly uncertain—reflecting in part the need for countries to shift rapidly toward renewable energy over the new few decades, in line with the Paris Agreement. With revenues down, fiscal deficits are only slowly declining—despite significant reforms on both the spending and revenue sides, including the introduction of VAT and excise taxes. This has led to a sharp increase in public debt—from 13 percent of GDP in 2013 to 33 percent in 2018. At this juncture, the global expansion is weakening, and risks are rising. Just a few weeks ago, we released our revised forecasts. We now think that the global economy will grow by 3.5 percent this year, 0.2 percentage points below what we expected in October. And risks are up, given escalating trade tensions and tightening financial conditions. Unsurprisingly, a weaker global environment has knock-on effects on the region through a variety of channels—trade, remittances, capital flows, commodity prices, and financing conditions. The bottom line: the economic path ahead for the region is challenging. This makes the task of fiscal policy that much harder, which in turn makes it even more important to build strong foundations to anchor fiscal policy. 1. Fiscal Frameworks The first building block of this foundation is a good fiscal framework. By this I mean the set of laws, institutional arrangements, and procedures needed to achieve a country’s fiscal policy objectives. Such a framework allows governments to map out budgets over the medium term in a way that reflects clear, consistent, and credible goals. There is scope to improve fiscal frameworks in this region. Some of the weaknesses are short-termism and insufficient credibility. On short-termism: given that inclusive and sustainable growth is an inherently medium-term goal, fiscal policy needs a medium-term orientation. Focusing on the immediate horizon makes it harder to implement critical but longer-term reforms in such areas as tackling high public wage bills, designing effective social protection systems, and getting rid of harmful fuel subsidies. Short-termism implies that fiscal policy amplifies rather than tames the waves of booms and busts—making it more difficult to achieve sustainable and inclusive growth. Turning to fiscal credibility: I am referring to such factors as large amounts of spending kept off-budget and poor risk management. Across the region, it is common for sovereign wealth funds to directly finance projects, bypassing the normal budget process. And state-owned enterprises in some countries have high levels of borrowing—again, outside of the budget. Addressing these fiscal risks would not only enhance budget credibility and transparency but would help keep a lid on corruption. Budgetary credibility also calls for better risk management, with a more comprehensive budget based on realistic forecasts. The good news is that numerous countries are already strengthening their fiscal frameworks—many with IMF assistance. Just to give some examples: Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, Sudan, Qatar, and Lebanon have all set up macro-fiscal units—a useful first step in strengthening the fiscal framework. Algeria has recently adopted a new budget law with a strong medium-term orientation, and Bahrain has introduced a fiscal program designed to achieve balance over the medium term. Mauritania, Morocco, Jordan, and Lebanon are making great progress with medium-term public investment planning and execution. Egypt now publishes a fiscal risk statement with its budget and produces an internal in-year budget risk assessment. The UAE too is rolling out a fiscal risk management project—with the IMF’s help—and will produce its first fiscal stress test this year. There is scope for further improvement. Perhaps the oil exporters could follow the example of other resource-rich countries such as Chile and Norway in using fiscal rules to protect key priorities such as social spending from commodity price volatility. Strong fiscal frameworks have other important benefits. They form the basis for sound debt management. They also allow for better coordination between fiscal and monetary policies, so that the two arms of macroeconomic management work together, not at cross purposes. 2. Good Governance and Transparency Let me now turn to the second pillar of good fiscal management—good governance and transparency. In this context, governance refers to the institutional frameworks and practices of the public sector. Strong institutions are crucial for legitimacy, for fostering a clearer understanding of policy objectives among citizens, enhancing their voice, and generating buy-in for fiscal policy. On the other hand, as many of you have said, weak institutions imply a weak policy foundation that could crack and crumble—because there is inadequate legitimacy and public accountability. Even worse, these cracks could also let corruption creep in. And you know so well, this is social poison—it feeds discord, disengagement, and disillusionment, especially among the young. The word corruption, after all, comes from Latin root for rotting, breaking apart—disintegration. And the word in Arabic, fasad, also connotes this idea of rotting or coming undone. Corruption is the great disruptor of fiscal policy. Without trust in the fairness of the tax system, it becomes harder to raise the revenue needed for critical spending on health, education, and social protection. And governments might be tempted to favor white elephant projects instead of investments in people and productive potential. Add this up, and we have a recipe for unsustainable fiscal policy combined with social discord. This a global issue—relevant for large and small countries, advanced and low-income economies, and the public and private sectors. Given this, it is no surprise that IMF research found that weak governance and corruption are associated with significantly lower growth, investment, FDI, and tax revenues—and higher inequality and exclusion. Specifically, we found that improving on an index of corruption and governance by moving from the bottom quarter to the mean is associated with an increase in the investment-to-GDP ratio of 1.5–2 percentage points and a bump up in annual GDP per capita growth by half a percentage point or more. [1] We will have more analysis in the upcoming Fiscal Monitor, which will be devoted to the topic of the fiscal costs of corruption and the role of fiscal institutions. What is the solution to weak governance and corruption? In the fiscal domain, it calls for heightened fiscal transparency—shining a light on all aspects of the budget and the public accounts. This would provide a more accurate picture of the fiscal position and prospects, the long-term costs and benefits of any policy changes, and the potential fiscal risks that might throw them off course. This region has some room for improvement here. We know that these kinds of reforms pay off. Take the case of Georgia, for example. Until 2003, it was seen as one of the most corrupt countries in the world. But after that, it reformed its institutions and cracked down on corruption. This, along with tax reform, led to immediate improvements. Tax revenues increased from 12 percent of GDP in 2003 to 25 percent of GDP in 2008, as taxpayers had greater faith in the fairness of the system. I should note that the IMF has been stepping up its engagement in the area of governance and corruption. Last year, we put in place a new framework predicated on a more systematic, evenhanded, effective, and candid engagement on these issues with member countries. We will be reaching out to leaders in this region to discuss how we can work together to implement this framework. With better governance, we can replace the “disintegration” of corruption with the “integration” of all into the productive economy. We can replace fasad with islah—reforms to set things right, to reconcile people with one another. Conclusion Let me wrap up. I have argued this morning that good fiscal policy requires good institutional foundations. And solid foundations in areas such as fiscal frameworks and governance give citizens confidence that fiscal policy serves the good of all, not just the wealthy or the well-connected. Let me end with some wise words attributed to the great Ibn Khaldun, “He who finds a new path is a pathfinder, even if the trail has to be found again by others; and he who walks far ahead of his contemporaries is a leader.” You are the pathfinders, the leaders, the visionaries. We hope that we can give useful guidance, but we look to you to find the right path to make this vision a reality. Thank you—shukran! [1] More specifically, those gains are associated with moving from the 25thpercentile to the 50th percentile in an index on corruption and governance. IMF Laying the foundations
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