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Recording, Monitoring, and Reporting Public Debt - Organizing a Back Office: A Guidance Note

The objective of this note is to provide guidance for countries on how to organize a public debt management back office most effectively. It describes the core processes that should be performed by that unit that is ultimately responsible for recording, monitoring, and reporting on public debt. It also highlights their involvement in the execution and settlement process. These are the basic functions of a debt management office, and evidence shows that many countries could benefit from improvements in this area. Proper debt recording and monitoring are the essential first step to developing good quality data; these form the basis for quantitative analysis, provide support for debt operations and facilitate effective policy decisions. Focusing on the main debt instruments that are used by low income countries, the note describes each process individually and highlights their interdependence. The main conclusion is that debt managers should organize themselves around the processes not products, and they should gather information to create a dataset to support debt management activities. Sound reporting is important for risk assessment and monitoring of a sovereign, and for the development and execution of debt strategies.