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Submitted by Anand P. Gupta on
The issue boils down to improving the efficiency and effectiveness of public spending, with effectiveness measured in terms of the delivery of the outcomes the people in PNG are concerned with. I totally agree with Mr. Graham Teskey that this will necessitate a major change in the structure of incentives that politicians in PNG face – they need to behave in a manner that their self-interests are in line with the self-interests of the people in PNG. What also needs to be done is to put in place institutional arrangements for tracking all public expenditures, with a view to ensure efficient and effective use of public money by the implementing agencies. I strongly believe that public expenditure tracking work must go beyond determining how much of the expenditure incurred on a scheme is regular and how much of it is irregular. It must also go beyond tracking whether right amount of money flows at the right time to the right level, with no parking of funds. In order that public expenditure tracking work is meaningful, it must help in substantially improving the efficiency and effectiveness of public expenditures. In other words, it must help in developing the culture of measuring performance in terms of the delivery of the outcomes that people in PNG are concerned with. This will necessitate that before one begins tracking of public expenditures on a programme, one articulates the theory of change underlying that programme. Once this is done, those responsible for tracking of public expenditures on a given programme will need to (a) check whether money is available according to the requirements of that programme, (b) check whether money has been spent as it was supposed to be spent, (c) identify the missing/weak links in the causal chain of the programme in question (these missing/weak links may differ from one programme to another, and from one place to another), and (d) report their findings to the programme manager without any waste of time. The programme manager will be expected to take appropriate and timely action(s). In case the programme is not producing the intended outcomes because, say, the programme beneficiaries are not behaving the way they were expected to, the programme manager will investigate the reasons for this and take the requisite corrective action(s).