British Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng. Photo by Kyle Heller/No 10 Downing Street via Flickr
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IMF urges UK government to review economic strategy
The International Monetary Fund has taken the unusual step of openly criticizing Britain’s economic policy put in place by new Prime Minister Liz Truss and Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng, after alarming investors and sending the pound to a historic low.
Truss, the leader of the Conservative Party who became prime minister on September 6, campaigned for the role on a plan to cut taxes and deregulate in a bid to spur economic growth after years of stagnation.
Among the tax changes in Kwarteng’s plan was the removal of the top tax rate of 45 pence for high earners. Other measures in the statement included helping citizens and business owners with their energy bills, which are expected to hit an all-time high. Overall, the package requires an additional £72bn ($77.2bn) of public debt issuance in this fiscal year alone.
“Given high inflationary pressures in many countries, including the UK, we do not recommend large, untargeted fiscal programs at this stage, as it is important that fiscal policy does not work against the grain of the monetary policy,” an IMF spokesperson said. “We are closely monitoring recent economic developments in the UK and are in contact with the authorities.”
The IMF is concerned about the plan’s potential to raise inequality and said an expected budget update from Kwarteng on November 23 would provide “a first opportunity for the UK government to consider ways to provide more targeted support. and to re-evaluate tax measures, especially those that benefit high earners”.
Following the financial turmoil sparked by the announcement of the government’s plans – which saw investor confidence plummet, sending the pound plummeting to US$1.0327 on Monday – the Bank of England has pledged a “significant” response. to stabilize the economy, and said it would not hesitate to raise interest rates if necessary.
The government is under significant pressure from economists, leaders and investors to abandon the plans, but said it is “confident” its economic strategy will work.
Read more: UK cabinet secretary accused of ‘failing to uphold public service values’ as PM ousts Treasury chief
A damning audit of Australia’s digital transformation agency casts doubt on its future
A report by Australia’s National Audit Office (ANAO) found the country’s Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) procurement was a failure, adding ammunition to calls for the ailing agency to be disbanded.
The report, which was released last week, found that all nine ICT services markets examined had been inefficient. The sample did not include government-wide IT purchase agreements.
The ANAO said that while the DTA had established a procurement framework, its implementation and monitoring had been “weak”, “its approach did not meet ethical requirements” and that it had not followed. its own internal policies and procedures.
Its recommendations included the DTA’s review of its risk management framework; update guidance on potential fraud risks; review its market approach, bid evaluation and contract management processes; improving the management and internal controls of payments; and improving education and training opportunities for staff.
The boutique technology agency founded by former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was meant to transform the public sector by breaking the highly restrictive public procurement process that has been accused of stifling innovation and favoring large incumbent suppliers. However, he saw a series of senior executive resignations and faced repeated questions about his effectiveness.
Following the report’s release, the DTA’s new chief executive, Chris Fechner, promised improvements. “The DTA accepts all identified opportunities for improvement and agrees with each of the eight relevant recommendations offered in the review,” he said, adding that the agency had “already got to work.” to answer.
Finance and Civil Service Minister Katy Gallagher called ANAO’s findings “very concerning”.
“I take these matters very seriously and will closely monitor how the DTA responds to these audit recommendations to ensure that the processes and behaviors that have been highlighted in this report are cleaned up and will not happen again. “, she told the Mandarin.
Read more: Australia’s digital chief Paul Shetler surprise resignation
The United Nations education agency called on the Indian government to take a series of measures to build public confidence and understanding in the use of artificial intelligence in education.
In its annual report on the state of education in the world’s largest democracy, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) focused on the potential role of AI in schools. India’s National Education Policy 2020 has called for an increase in technical knowledge at all levels of education, including the integration of AI to promote quality and skill-based education.
UNESCO said the use of AI has “enduring various misconceptions” and pointed out that AI could have a number of positive uses in the Indian education system. These included the use of smart tutoring systems to conduct assessments, track learning progress and provide regular individual feedback, and the development of smart schools and universities to deliver quality content to remote locations using AI techniques like facial and voice recognition alongside augmented and virtual reality.
Read more: India launches one-stop AI portal
However, its recommendations called for more emphasis on improving trust in artificial intelligence. In particular, the review called on the government to “consider the ethics of artificial intelligence in education as a top priority” as well as to rapidly provide “a comprehensive regulatory framework for artificial intelligence in education “.
Other recommendations in the report included the need to improve public confidence in artificial intelligence, with options including more work by government to expand AI literacy efforts and attempt to correct algorithmic biases and corruption. resulting discrimination.
The recommendations come as the Indian government aims to improve its digitalization in a host of areas through its Digital India program, which aims to transform the country into a digital society and knowledge economy.
Read more: Artificial Intelligence in the Public Sector: Driving Innovation in Government…If We Get There
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