This Policy Discussion Paper should not be reported as representing the views of the IMF. The views expressed in this Policy Discussion Paper are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of the IMF or IMF policy. Policy Discussion Papers describe research in progress by the author(s) and are published to elicit comments and to further debate. With new initiatives to provide low income countries with external assistance in support of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), donors and NGOs are seeking to understand whether “fiscal space ” can be provided in the context of IMF-supported programs to support these initiatives. This paper defines the concept of fiscal space and its link to fiscal sustainability, describes alternative ways in which fiscal space can be created, and notes how the IMF can support appropriate efforts to create fiscal space. The paper underscores that the issues that arise in creating fiscal space are not novel, but have always confronted governments in judging whether there is scope for additional expenditure
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