Honorable Minister Bode and Minister Pollo,
Dear Ms. Kuko and Mr. Haldeda
Distinguished representatives of the donor community,
Dear participants and colleagues,
I am delighted to be with all of you here today to launch the second multi-donor trust fund for the Integrated Planning System (IPS) process.
I would like to congratulate the Ministry of Finance and the Department for Strategy and Donor Coordination for taking the lead in preparing the project document. Let me extend deep thanks to the contributing donors for their generous support to Public Financial Management reforms. I would also like to recognize the team of the World Bank that has worked tirelessly through all the procedures, with several contributing governments, towards the finalization of the Grant Agreement that we are celebrating today.
Today, we enter into a new, most challenging phase of the project: implementation. It’s not going to be easy: reforms, particularly financial management reforms, can be painful and difficult both - technically and politically. But the lessons learned during the first trust fund implementation will serve as a good basis to perform better and faster in the second phase.
Supporting a country-led agenda is a necessary condition for success. The IPS project financed under the MDTF was highly appreciated by all beneficiaries as well as by development partners. It has been fully aligned with the government reform strategy and also addressed a number of specific needs in the areas of civil service training, planning process improvement, and external aid management. The linkage to the EU integration agenda, primarily through the alignment of the budgeting process with the NSDI, is another critical dimension of this project that helps to ensure sustainability of the results achieved. This leadership is even stronger now and I believe that this will create ampler possibilities for successful implementation.
The second IPS project will benefit from the project management arrangements and capacity that have been already put in place. The assessment carried out during the preparation shows that capacity of the beneficiary institutions and the fiduciary functions at the implementing agency are at a satisfactory level. As a result, some activities have already started and some are already in the pipeline. It will be important to implement them with the high standard expected by the donors.
Clearly defining and monitoring progress towards measurable results is another important lesson in improving project implementation. I strongly encourage the implementation team to make sure that they come up with a realistic and simple - and easily verifiable - results matrix as soon as possible. A lot of attention during IPS1 was given to making the right inputs, which are, of course, necessary for success. Yet, focus on inputs is not sufficient and results should be a core integral part of the project you are starting today.
I would even go further and say that, in short, the key words for the project, IPS-2, are performance and results. The support that will be provided to the integral Financial Management Information System, the External Management Information System, and the Integrated Planning Management Information System is precisely to help monitor results towards targets and indicators, so that policy makers are better informed in their decision making processes – and more accountable for the decisions they make.
The support that comes through this multi donor grant is part of a bigger support that the Government has been receiving in years from the community of donors like EU, Sweden, Austria, Switzerland, DfID and others in the area of Public Financial Management. While much has been achieved so far, a lot remains to be done. The new reality of harder budget constraints all over Europe forces all the governments to be more effective and efficient management of the resources, and committed to better planning, monitoring, controlling and auditing.
Similarly, during the preparation of this project, those who finance this project had to make hard choices and set properties under budget constraints. With more donor support expected in the future from the EU, more important activities can be added.
The IPS project has been a very good example of how donors can work together and support country efforts, through a programmatic, phased approach, in a critical area for improving governance and advancing EU integration. I look forward to this good practice example to successfully bring – and exceed - the expected results.
Once again, congratulations and best wishes for future successes to all.