Why Is Public Finance Management So Important To Development?

In response to the Paris Declaration (2005) and the Accra Agenda (2008) leading to commitments for donors to channel more of their aid to developing countries through country systems, there has been a growing shift away from program and project aid – typically managed or overseen directly by the contributing development partner – to budget support where aid is channeled directly through the developing country treasury’s consolidated revenue fund account. As one might expect, as a consequence of this growing shift to budget support there has been a corresponding increase in donor focus on the performance of Public Finance Management in the countries that receive budget support. This is as should be, given the increased real or perceived fiduciary risks associated with the use of country systems to manage the hard earned taxes of the citizens of development partner countries.

But this is only one side of the story. Unfortunately there is not yet that much interest or appreciation in the other side of the story. On the other side of the story are the citizens of the developing countries who may suffer as a consequence of tinkering with Public Finance Management systems in the name of reform, which may only serve to undermine current weak systems and set them back even further. Public Finance Management seems inaccessible to most of us. Even where it is accessible to us we deem it to be boring, inconsequential and something only dreary accountants and auditors need bother about. But think, Public Finance Management is about our money, it is about our children’s future, it is about our development.
The importance of Public Finance Management and its reform derives as a consequence of its direct role in implementing policy – be it about improving education, achieving better health care, promoting tourism, or increasing agricultural yields. With weak Public Finance Management systems, even where policy makers come up with sound policy, it may not be possible to implement such policy effectively. Further, quite uniquely Public Finance Management performance affects the performance of all other sectors – yes the macroeconomic environment and so private sector opportunity and the service delivery in agriculture, health, education, transport, energy, public safety and the list goes on. When it works, all other sectors have a chance of succeeding; but when Public Finance Management fails all other sectors fail.

We as citizens of developing countries ought to be more concerned about who drives the agenda for Public Finance Management reform. Is it the IMF, as it imposes Public Finance Management Reform conditionalities that are not just tied to strengthening or improving budgetary systems, but are tied specifically to the adoption of particular reform approaches – despite such approaches having in some instances failed in more than one country. Is it the World Bank as it makes the adoption of integrated financial management information systems (IFMIS) the basis for support in reforming the Public Finance Management systems? Or is it the result of wide internal debate and consideration by the country citizenry influencing their elected leaders to address the basic things that they know do not work using approaches that are within the reach of our capacity rather than adopt reform methods that may not yet be appropriate to our circumstances?

This donor interest in improving Public Finance Management performance has led to immense pressure on countries to adopt new public management approaches. These have included (1) medium term expenditure frameworks (MTEF) often pushed to be implemented long before a country may have developed the capacity to make credible their annual budgets and even as developing partners themselves continue to struggle with their capability to disburse funds predictably in-year, more so as measured in a medium term perspective; or (2) the use of policy based budgeting such as program and activity based budgeting long before they have the institutional capacity to effectively coordinate programs, develop the fiscal space for meaningful policy consideration, or access the monitoring data to properly evaluate policy outcomes; or (3) the adoption of integrated financial management information systems (IFMIS) to manage expenditure which occurs across as many as thousands of spending units many of which still struggle with issues of staff retention, electricity supply or integration into a national financial administrative network. The challenges of managing at the level of spending units under an IFMIS implementation has led to a roll out strategy limited to treasuries (payment centres). Control over payments is often too late to impact on the accrual of expenditure arrears which can have important detrimental macroeconomic stability impacts; or (4) full accrual accounting even as financial reports based upon a cash accounting standard are not comprehensive, show signs of low data integrity and are issued late. A review of country experience across many developing countries who have adopted the new program management approaches in their Public Finance management reforms shows that these efforts have often not been successful by any reasonable measure.

The primary reason for this widespread Public Finance Management reform failure is often attributed to political economy considerations by developing partners – poor governance, high levels of corruption and the like. Of course that is part of the equation, but in contrast it is striking that there are cases of dramatic success of particular elements of Public Finance Management reform in such areas as debt management, certain aspects of revenue administration and public procurement in even what are considered the most corrupt developing countries. Is the political economy focus just another way of suggesting that the poor success record of many of these new public management approaches is solely the responsibility of the developing countries and has little to do with the immense influence that the donor community has had over in setting the Public Finance Management reform agenda?

Clearly, it is time to recognise that considerations of the different sides of the question as to what reform methods to adopt or whether Public Finance Management is, or should be, driven principally by the disbursement conditionalities set by donors; or arrived at through much wider debate and careful consideration by the citizenry and leadership of developing countries might lead to quite different conclusions. The consequence of wider discussion between developing country actors could lead to a more balanced, realistic, relevant and ultimately effective approach to Public Finance Management reform in developing countries.

Personal Finance, Corporate & Public Finance

Finance basically revises and deals with various methods by the means of which businesses, companies, and individuals hoist, distribute, and utilize financial supplies over a stipulated time, along with considering the threats involved in their assignments. Hence, the expression of finance may engross any of the below mentioned stuffs:

o The execution and outlining of the assignment’s threats.

o The art of executing funds.

o The administration and execution of the resources.

o The revision of funds and other capitals.

In consideration of the expression “to finance”, it signifies to offer finances for commerce or for an individual’s huge purchases such as house, car, etc. The commotions of finance are the submission that individuals and firms utilize for executing their funds, specifically the variations amidst earnings and expense along with the threats of their assets.

Alternative Revisions:

For the earning that surpasses its expense list may provide or spend the surplus income. Simultaneously, an individual whose earnings are less than the expenses may hoist assets by purchasing or lending the equity claims, reducing its expenditures, or boosting its earning. Now, the lender can find a borrower, a monetary mediator, as such a bank or can purchase notes or shares from the share market. Further, the lender acquires interest rates, and the borrower shells out a bigger interest rate than the lender acquires, and the monetary mediator concise the variation.

Banks amass the commotions of several lenders and borrowers, and it also welcomes the deposits from various lenders, on which it shells out the interest rate. Further, the bank lends these deposits to the borrowers, and by this method bank permits the authority for both the lenders as well as the borrowers of distinctive horizons, to synchronize their financial commotions. Hence, banks are described as compensators of money streams in space.

For example, if an individual buys one share of ABC Inc, and the firm posses 100 shares in stock, then the individual becomes 1/100 possessor of that firm. Obviously, in favor of the stock, the firm acquires cash, which it utilizes to enlarge its commercialization in a procedure called as “Equity Financing”.

Utility:

Finance is utilized by almost every individual (personal finance), commerce (corporate finance), by government bodies (public finance) and by a huge range of institutions engrossing school, colleges, and all the non-profit institutions. Usually, the objectives of each of the above mentioned commotional bodies are attained by the utilization of proper financial implementations, along with systematic contemplation of their organizational backdrop.

Hence, finance is one of the most crucial phases of business administration. A fresh business venture is bound to fail, if appropriate financial concepts are not utilized. Administration of funds is the most necessary stuff for ensuring a safe financial future for both the firms as well for the individuals.

Just Say No To Public Financing Of Stadiums

Sports is truly big in America. People get a great deal of fun and excitement out of it. Sports is a great distraction from real life with its statistics and never-ending discussions. Unfortunately, owners of teams know the love affair people have with their teams and look to take advantage of it. Public financing for stadiums is one way to do that.
The Florida Marlins have been a pretty successful baseball team winning two World Series within ten years. Such success was alleged to be a lynchpin in looking for funding for a stadium. They were slapped for such assumptions. The Florida legislature said they would not back a financing plan for the Marlins. They have talked to other cities as well regarding public funding with little luck. The New York Yankees have done similar things looking to build a stadium on Manhattan away from the Bronx which is their current location. They were shot down as well.

Recent studies have confirmed a fatigue with public financing for stadiums. It just is not worth it. The economic advantages for the host city are less and less. The internet and cable television have made everything far closer; you can see a game anywhere in any city through such creations. Do you really need a stadium?

Also, the greed is simply out-in-the-open now. People making $50,000 a year paying costs for billionaire owners to house millionaire players is a sham. The players have proven they don’t care which city they play in, just the one paying the most. Why should a fan go out of his way and take more dough out of his pocket for this sort of thing? He should not.
At the very least, there should be some sort of reward for public funding. How about the team making sure ticket prices remain in the bottom ten? That would be both rewarding and gracious. Instead, we often get owners who raise ticket prices almost immediately. Gee, thanks for the support, Mr. Billionaire.

Sports is a business, often a sleazy one. The stupidity of saying, “This is my team” is beyond childlike. They are not your team and don’t really care about you, either. If an owner wants to come to your town or expand in your town, let him build it himself. If public financing is sought, seek out your own advantages. Otherwise you are just another sucker spending into oblivion.

Top 10 iPhone Apps for Personal Finance

There are many applications for the iPhone that give users the ability to make personal financing easier than ever. While solving one pain-in-the-neck issue, it creates another – which app to buy? Because of the popularity of these headache-reducing apps, there is an overwhelming amount of options available in the App Store. Deciphering which app is the best available is almost impossible. Add in the fact that so many aren’t free, and choosing the right one the first time around could save time and money. Before downloading anything, it’s important to know if the functionality of the app (money transferring, budget tracking, etc.) fits your needs. Provided is a list of ten apps including the price and primary function that can make tracking personal finances much easier.

Mint – There are tons of finance apps available that focus on budget tracking. Few are as popular as Mint, which allows users to manage multiple financial accounts from one simple user interface. With user-friendly features and no price tag, there is little wonder why this app has so many users.

Loan Shark – Dealing with loans is never a pleasant experience. The Loan Shark app helps ease some of the pain endured while handling loans without having to pay anything. It simplifies the process of calculating loans by a great deal and also has many features including a full amortization table, a one-tap extra payment option, and a “favorites” feature.

MoneyStrands – This app is another free option for tracking your budget. With features like alerts, analysis, security, and support, it is one to compare to Mint.

PageOnce – Planning long-term investments can be easy to put off. This app also assists in budgeting your current finances like MoneyStrands and Mint, but really excels in planning for the future. It gives you the ability to look at your 401k, IRA, and stocks all at the same time, while not costing you a cent.

Toshl – Toshl incorporates cloud computing into every day financing with this free app. The cloud feature allows users to automatically sync their mobile movements online. Additionally, there is a premium upgrade ($19.95/year) that allows users to export to Excel, PDF, or Google Docs among other features.

MoneyBook – MoneyBook is another addition to the long line of apps for budgeting. This one, however, comes at a price. Promoted as “Finance with Flair,” the app costs $2.99 and is loaded with features to make financing easier.

SplashMoney – At $4.99, what differentiates this from the free apps is its ability to connect wirelessly to most online bank accounts.

Square – The price is right for this free app that makes credit card purchases simpler than ever. By signing up, Square, Inc. will provide a credit card reader that can be attached directly to the iPhone. Once connected, users have the ability to swipe all major credit cards with only a 2.75% charge per swipe.

PayPal – Ebay-owned PayPal provides users a secure, simple way to send or receive money wirelessly.

General Banking – The bulk of major banks have available apps for free. These provide easy-access to any and all bank accounts in a secure fashion.

This is only a small example of the many, many apps that can help make financing easier. With the continuous release of new applications and updates to old ones, banking from your iPhone will continue to simplify; finding the app for doing so may not. This list is a great place to start looking.

For more information about iPhone application development, visit Magenic Technologies who have been providing innovative custom software development to meet unique business challenges for some of the most recognized companies and organizations in the nation.

The US Presidential Race, McCain-Obama – Public Financing and Off-Shore Drilling

Money: Now that Obama has opted out of the public financing system and McCain has decided to stay in, it appears that Obama may have about $250 million to invest in the months of September and October and McCain may have only about $85 million.

Should McCain be afraid? No and Yes.

No, because I do not think that Obama’s financial edge will do much for him in advertising (traditional and non-traditional) for his candidacy and causes. The reason is simple — time is short, and there will be galore free publicity. Yes, because Obama might gain a very substantial advantage in voter registration, and mobilization with paid staff and localized promotion and patronage. It takes almost one-on-one to persuade a voter to register, and then actually vote on the election day. The upside of such voter mobilization is monumental. Here is one such analysis (from Los Angeles Times), “In Florida alone, more than half a million black registered voters stayed home in 2004. Hundreds of thousands more African Americans are eligible to vote but not registered. And campaign analysts have identified similar potential in North Carolina, Virginia, Missouri and Ohio. In these five states, which were crucial to the GOP’s presidential success in 2000 and 2004, George W. Bush’s victory margins were generally slim enough to suggest that a major expansion of black turnout could lead to Democratic gains this year.”

Off-shore drilling: McCain has reversed his stance against off-shore drilling, and now advocates it. Obama continues to oppose this. The U.S. Congress currently has a statutory ban on off-shore drilling. What are the pros and cons?

With the high gas prices and improved technologies, voters are open to this idea — all public polls show that 55-60 percent of Americans support off-shore drilling. So that should help McCain, right? Not much for two reasons. One, the voters will always be reminded that McCain might be opportunistic and runs counter to McCain’s tough-it-out but do the right thing image. Two, the blue-collar, working class, lower income voters who are most affected by high gas prices are also surprisingly principled and tough (they would rather tough it), so McCain may gain no traction with this most plausible demographic group.

The principled-stubbornness of the working class demographic group came to most vivid demonstration when Clinton’s advocacy of temporary suspension of gas tax (and Obama’s opposition) did not fetch her any favors with this group in the Democratic primaries.