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Poland: Managing Sub-national Debt in Difficult Times

October 19, 2012


Examining the impact of the current global crisis on debt and debt management at Poland's sub-national level.

  • The global economic crisis has highlighted the importance of effective debt management to mitigate the effects of external shocks.
  • High level and inappropriate debt structures could become sources of vulnerability to an economy and a financial system.
  • To ensure long term economic development and fiscal sustainability, it is essential to build strong capacity at the sub-national level in debt and public finance management.

Sub-national debt management in difficult times was the theme of a World Bank conference held in Warsaw on 15-16 October, 2012, which examined the impact of the current global crisis on debt and debt management at the sub-national level in Poland. Major issues discussed included the use and limitations of risk indicators in debt management, key factors influencing decisions on how to finance a deficit, the challenges of implementing medium-term financial plans, as well as the roles and responsibilities of debt managers.

In addition, the conference explored current and topical issues in sub-national public finance, and facilitated a dialogue on ways for Polish local authorities to strengthen debt and financial management, including managing market risks, optimizing debt and investment portfolios, and improving medium term financial planning.

Panelists and participants included representatives of the central government (Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Regional Development, Ministry of Administration and Digitization), treasurers and directors of debt departments from nine regions and eight of Poland’s biggest cities, as well as academia.

" The conference has been an opportunity to discuss among practitioners, to share perspectives within Poland, as well as to learn from international experience. This has been a very substantive two-day event, focused on dealing with practical, day-to-day challenges, as they affect sub-national governments, as well on reflecting about the longer-term aspects of public finance management. "

Emilia Skrok

World Bank senior economist

Mrs. Nancy Kopp, Maryland State Treasurer, and Mr. Luc Webster, Treasurer in the Greater London Authority, made key-note speeches focused on good practices in debt-management. The World Bank's representation was led by Yvonne M. Tsikata, Director for Poverty Reduction and Economic Management with the World Bank's Europe and Central Asia Region.