1887

Enhancing public spending efficiency

The Czech fiscal position is generally sound and policy making is prudent. However, the fiscal framework was not strong enough to contain spending in the upturn and it would benefit from independent budget oversight. An anchor for the fiscal policy would be helpful, in the form of an explicit debt target coupled with corresponding spending ceilings and deficit targets. The ongoing fiscal consolidation, spending pressures and an already relatively high average tax burden necessitate public sector efficiency improvements. There is scope for improvement in the management of government spending, mainly by enhancing transparency, introducing performance-oriented budget indicators at both central and local levels, improving the management of state-owned enterprises and developing the procurement practices of the public sector. Legislated increases in the retirement age will improve pension system sustainability. A new defined contribution tier is being introduced which should help to diversify future retirement income. At the same time, there is uncertainty about the number of participants who will decide to divert their contribution to the new tier and hence about the implications for revenues in the existing defined benefit pension tier. Also, attention should be taken regarding administrative costs of the new tier, since these can have a significant impact on future replacement rates and therefore public support for it. With more emphasis on private savings, the financial literacy of the population also needs to be stepped up. In healthcare the authorities plan to continue improving the multi-insurer model through incremental reforms such as limiting pharmaceutical costs and improving provider-payment system. The potential for efficiency improvement in healthcare network planning and better care management should be explored, while ensuring that insurers and health providers are given the correct incentives.

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