Annual conference focuses on ensuring greater value for money in public expenditure
BALI, May 11, 2017—Sharing lessons on how to spend better on education can help countries reduce poverty and inequality, said government officials from across Asia attending the 7th Plenary Conference of the Public Expenditure Management Network in Asia, or PEMNA.
More than 100 public finance officials from 13 Asian countries gathered in Bali, Indonesia, to discuss the hurdles in achieving better results in performance through increased spending on education services. Significantly improving education outcomes in host country Indonesia, for example, remains a challenge, despite a 20 percent allocation of the state budget for education.
“Education is an investment for every nation. For every government, delivering value for money in education services is always going to be a critical aspect of the public expenditure management challenge,” said Rudy Widodo, Director of State Cash Management at the Indonesia Ministry of Finance.
In many countries, local governments are now responsible for delivering education, highlighting the urgency to ensure that local agencies are able to manage budgets and track outputs and results in a timely, accountable manner.
Topics highlighted at the conference, entitled Public Expenditure on Education – Upgrading Human Capital in Addressing Poverty and Inequality, ranged from integrating spending reviews into the budgeting process on education, to assessing the effectiveness of pro-poor budget allocation in addressing poverty and inequality.
Participants welcome the opportunity to share each other’s experiences. “We want to learn what hurdles other member countries have faced and overcame in the process of implementing their reforms, so that we don’t have to experience the same in our implementation efforts,” said Amelita Castillo, Assistant Secretary at the Philippines Department of Budget and Management.
As a member-driven, peer-learning network of public finance practitioners in the East Asia and Pacific region, PEMNA provides an important forum for sharing knowledge, bringing to its annual conference the members of its two Communities of Practice (CoPs) - Budget and Treasury – to discuss policy options for public financial management reforms.
”Peer-to-peer learning is increasingly recognized as an effective and inspiring way of building capacity. In a relatively short span of time, PEMNA has grown into a platform where officials can openly talk about their success and challenges related to public financial management reforms.” said Miki Matsuura, Public Sector Specialist from the World Bank. “Building on the success to date, PEMNA is seeking to share knowledge and experiences with countries in other regions.”
Since 2012, the Korea Institute of Public Finance (KIPF) has serves as the Secretariat for PEMNA. “We are grateful to the members and partners that they have responded willingly and enthusiastically in stepping up to provide both momentum and leadership in the collective task of growing PEMNA into the success it is now,” said John Kim, Head of PEMNA Secretariat.
Also central to the success of PEMNA as an open platform for sharing of knowledge and experience has been the financial contribution and advisory support of the Korean government. “Korea graduated from middle income status and moved to high income status. We have implemented many reforms and not all of them were successful. I don’t want other countries to repeat some of the mistakes we have made. Korea is willing to extend our experience to other countries, both successes and challenges,” said Byong Yol Woo, Director General at the Fiscal Performance Management Division of the Korean Ministry of Strategy and Finance.