COVID-19: How to Record Government Policy Interventions in Fiscal Statistics

Tuesday, March 2

Introduction
Mr. Hervé Joly, Director, Joint Vienna Institute 

Presenter
Mr. Philip Stokoe, Senior Economist, Government Finance Division, Statistics Department, International Monetary Fund


Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, governments across the world have been responding with significant fiscal policy measures to address the ongoing economic and health consequences. In the USA, the Federal Government has passed five separate coronavirus relief bills, that have appropriated some $5trillion in relief including direct payments to households, expanded unemployment insurance and help to hard hit businesses and sub-national governments. In the UK, among other measures, the UK government introduced its Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, paying employees to keep furloughed employees on payroll. In Germany, the government provided a €9billion bailout to support Lufthansa, increasing the government’s state in the airline to 20%. Some countries have introduced voucher schemes targeting support to particular industries, others have quickly scaled up quarantine facilities and rapid testing sites. Most countries have been purchasing personal protective equipment and now vaccines.

Whether extending financial support to businesses, providing direct support payments to households, increased health spending and vaccination programs or extending guarantees and other support to the financial sector, governments have been doing all they can to minimize the economic harm, and provide the funds necessary to support the health sector. All of these interventions need to be recorded correctly in a countries’ Government Finance Statistics

To help our membership to record these interventions correctly,  the JVI, in cooperation with the IMF Statistics Department, held a webinar in March 2021 to discuss How to Record Government Policy Interventions in Fiscal Statistics. The webinar was presented by Phil Stokoe, a Senior Economist in the IMF’s Government Finance Division, and drew upon guidance published by the IMF.  

This well received webinar, the latest in a series of training events that the JVI has arranged as part of its long running cooperation with the IMF, was attended by 70 participants, from more than 30 countries. A Q&A session followed Phil’s presentation, allowing participants to raise specific issues.

Philip Stokoe, Senior Economist, International Monetary Fund

Presentation

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