Chaco: better public services doesn’t mean more spending

June 4, 2012

World Bank

  • It is not a resource problem, but inefficiency in public spending.
  • Communities should be involved in allocation of public resources.
  • The territorial benefit goes beyond individual interests.

"In Chaco, access to opportunities is not a resource problem, but inefficiency in public spending," states José Molinas-Vega, World Bank senior economist.

The expert took part in the seminar "Communities of Opportunities: Exchange of South-South Experiences", which gathered 40 mayors from the province of Chaco, officials from the Ministry of Planning and Environment, NGO representatives and two Chilean experts.

The World Bank supports this initiative. In fact, a paper produced by the Bank concludes that with a more efficient expenditure Chaco can reduce extreme poverty and improve access to housing, preschool attendance and completion of high school on time.

Governor Jorge Capitanich considered that access to opportunities had increased in the province, mainly for the efforts done in health and education,  called for communities to monitor government actions.

" In Chaco, access to opportunities is not a resource problem, but inefficiency in public spending. "

José Molinas-Vega

World Bank senior economist

Municipalities: strategic allies

María Elina Serrano, Undersecretary of Regional and Local Development of Chaco, stated that "the initiative will help to involve the community in improving the design of public policies and better allocate resources."

"Our aim is that each municipality has its territorial development plan and work on the basis of its productive vocation and social sustainability," said Raul Codutti, Minister of Planning and Environment.

This will improve the investments in water, sanitation or roads, and will allow an equitable allocation of services such as health, education and domestic violence prevention to vulnerable households.

Moreover, the provincial government already has a modern system of management by results that will be extended to municipalities through this initiative.

Learning from others

This seminar was also an opportunity for a South-South experiences exchange, with some examples on local development provided by the Chilean guests.

Sergio Espinoza-Hetreau, coordinator of the Rural Infrastructure Development Planning of Chile, noted that "strategic planning requires all productive sectors to agree on behalf of the same territory, above the individual interest ".

He cited the example of rural territory in Chile, where the challenge was to conciliate the interest of local fishing and tourism businesses.

Maria Monica Ruiz Herrera, from the Targeting Division of the Ministry of Social Development in Chile, talked about Social Protection File, a tool that identifies the beneficiaries of social programs through a survey on topics such as health education, occupational status, income, and housing.