8 thoughts on “New Forecast Endorsement Function for IFAC”

  1. Hmm
    I see some of the inputs can be declared confidential. Its a pity. A much much simpler way would be to crowdsource this. Put out all data, code and methods, and let people replicate or not.

  2. I’m reproducing Jagdip Singh’s comment from the earlier IMF on Fiscal Councils thread:

    “The Department of Finance this week published a so-called “Memorandum of Understanding with the Fiscal Advisory Council” which at its heart deals with an important function of the Council, namely “endorsement”.

    http://finance.gov.ie/documents/publications/mou/mouaug2013fiscalcouncil.pdf

    For this year’s budget, the Council will be required to “endorse” the Government’s forecasts and plans. This is a highly politically-inconvenient development because if the Council withholds its endorsement, then the Government loses face domestically and internationally.

    Given the concern expressed by the Council in the ability of the DoF to forecast accurately or to have its forecasts resemble eventual reality, there is now the potential for the Council to achieve leverage with the DoF, so that its recommendations aren’t merely acknowledged, noted and then ignored.

    One concern from the document though, is that it allows the DoF to assert confidentiality for some information. Presumably, no self-respecting Council would agree to such a term if it were to mean it were to be gagged from revealing vitally important forecast information. Surely, it wouldn’t agree to that. Though it does seem that Prof McHale did lend his signature to the document on 2nd August 2013.” [Jagdip Singh]

    @all

    The “Redact” button has become addictive for certain echelons …. and the ol’ “commercially sensitive” bin is overflowing. Upper-echelon ‘villians’, of course, are as safe from ‘accountability’ as .. er .. houses.

  3. An ‘independent’ forecast produced by an independent body is surely different to a forecast produced by a unit of a department under political control and endorsed by an independent body?

    Maybe the IFAC is lacking the resources to do this forecasting but it seems clear that its very existence is unwelcome to the DoF.

    If the IFAC doesn’t make itself a public nuisance as such functions are in other countries, then it will inevitably become an irrelevance.

    Be prepared to serve the public interest and have your names scrubbed from the lists of ‘reliable’ experts kept by the permanent government, for populating the network of quangos, taskforces, review groups etc that seldom if ever create ripples and have an impact as durable as footprints on snow.

  4. @Michael Hennigan

    ‘… that seldom if ever create ripples and have an impact as durable as footprints on snow.”

    Neat turn of phrase – worth borrowing – captures the local particular – yet has probable universal utility. In terms of the Irish public sphere – WOW!! – methinks there are quite a few candidates – imho, the Gold Medal has to go to the 99.5% of Irish academics who remained silent since 2007 as the krisis unfolded.

    And why has there been no plausible explanation on the systemic failures within the ESRI?

  5. @ All

    Portugal has also embarked on reform of its budgetary process, with some assistance from Sweden, the one EU country that can be taken as a role model because of the manner in which it dealt with a self-inflicted crisis in the 90’s.

    http://www.bportugal.pt/pt-PT/OBancoeoEurosistema/Eventos/Documents/LJonung_paper.pdf

    The state of the debate on the issue in Ireland is lamentable. We have the Fiscal Council but where is the reformed Fiscal Framework?

    That is the question!

  6. fyi

    The Department of Finance’s decision to provide sensitive economic forecasts to the Fiscal Advisory Council weeks in advance of the October Budget has the potential to undermine Irish democracy, a senior Labour Party TD has claimed.

    Kevin Humphreys, TD for Dublin South East, has written to the Government’s four-member Economic Management Council expressing concern that such sensitive information is being passed onto an unelected body while the Oireachtas will be kept in the dark until budget day.

    http://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/labour-td-concerned-at-advisory-council-s-role-ahead-of-budget-1.1501579

  7. The SBP today reports that Edmund Honohan, Master of the High Court, and just as outspoken as his brother who leads the Central Bank, has said that Ireland could face a legal challenge from Europe for failing to give IFAC adequate powers to veto forthcoming budgets.
    More specifically Edmund says that the Fiscal Responsibility Act “has not carried out the requirements” under the fiscal treaty.
    To quote from the article by Emma Kennedy in today’s SBP
    “Brussels would be surprised by the weak role being given to” the FAC.

    Do the fine and upstanding members of the FAC really think their advice and recommendations will be taken more seriously after a bedding-in period or when we are no longer so much under the cosh? Or should the FAC send a clear message today that it is an independent body, and a requirement of our bailout and fiscal treaty.

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