A more prudent strategy is for the public sector to save a large portion of its commodity revenue whatever the current price environment. These additional savings may be used to: (a) increase a country's net foreign asset position (either through repaying debt or accumulating foreign deposits); (b) reduce public domestic debt; (c) raise public domestic investment.
The use to which the savings are put determines how quickly the government can respond to changed circumstances. Foreign assets, although not without risk, are highly liquid and thus can be sold quickly when times are difficult times. Botswana protected itself against downturns in the diamond market by increasing its foreign exchange reserves to cover two years' worth of imports. Repayment of debt reduces exposure of the public sector to unstable revenues and avoids the monetary pressures caused by reserve accumulation at the central bank. Reducing net debt to the central bank also reduces monetary expansion by offsetting the increase in foreign exchange reserves. Public investment suffers from the defect that it is difficult to reverse - new investment spending is hard to stop for projects under way, and it is usually difficult and time-consuming to sell physical assets once they have been acquired. Additional public investment financed by commodity revenue should therefore be limited to highly profitable projects.