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20 julho 2016

Dívida da Grécia e adoção das IPSAS

Can the adoption of international accounting standards change the world’s view of Greek debt?
The government of Greece recently announced that it was adopting International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS). This article considers how the adoption of IPSAS might help Greece. The current context is one in which an agreement has recently been reached between Greece and its creditors, though further negotiations on matters such as debt relief are required. That agreement is predicated on the notion that Greece has an unsustainable burden of debt, and the debate has focused on what changes are needed to make the debt sustainable. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has expressed the view that for Greece’s debt to be sustainable requires debt relief.

The ‘traditional’ benefits of IPSASIn a different context, the question of how the adoption and use of IPSAS-based accounting would help a country could be answered in a more traditional way. Good accounting is an essential element of good governance; high-quality public financial management enables tighter fiscal control; the transparency associated with IPSAS-based financial statements leads to a better informed electorate and a more accountable government. In such a context, government accounting is an essential element of a well-functioning management system, enabling decision-makers to measure and monitor performance, and creating incentives for them not to take decisions that impact negatively on either efficiency or intergenerational equity.

For Greece, its adoption of IPSAS might, in time, generate these benefits. But the current context is one characterized by a widespread and pervasive misunderstanding of Greece’s real fiscal position. That misunderstanding has created a setting in which the solution recently reached between Greece and its creditors does not address the real problem and, indeed, may exacerbate it. In this context, the most immediate and significant ways in which IPSAS can help Greece is to reveal its current position, and prevent it from getting worse.

Understanding Greece’s real debt position

While Greece’s debt is commonly cited as being 175–180% of GDP, it is increasingly being acknowledged that this number is incorrect and indefensible, because it is based on the face value of Greece’s debt. This is notwithstanding that the debt has both long maturities and concessional interest rates, as well as grace periods. Just two of many instances where the inappropriateness of using face value as the measure of debt areProfessor Paul de Grauwe (2015) and the Institute of International Finance (IIF, 2015). The IIF, for example, states:

The fixation on measuring debt sustainability as a ratio of nominal debt to GDP is too narrow and simplistic to serve as an all-powerful target of adjustment policies. The composition and structure of debt matters greatly: maturity (long term or short/medium term), interest costs (market rates or concessionary/low rates) as well as existence of grace periods.

Also, as Schumacher and Weder di Mauro (2015) note, the IMF does not use face value of debt when conducting debt sustainability analyses of developing countries, which typically have debt with long maturities and concessional interest rates – exactly the situation with Greece.

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Fonte: aqui

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