President Danilo Medina assumed office in August 2012 carrying an ambitious electoral program aimed at generating 400,000 jobs and agreeing on three nationwide targets on fiscal, energy and education priorities.
The emphasis of the new Administration on social policies was challenged by a large deficit and the tightest fiscal space in public finances in a decade. The Minister of the Economy called on the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) and the World Bank to elaborate in just two months a set of joint policy notes on topics identified by the Government, in order to inform sector dialogue and agree on priorities in the different Ministries and institutions, most of which were at that moment preparing their four-year action plans.
In order to promptly respond to the request of Government authorities, the World Bank drew from an ongoing policy notes elaboration process. The World Bank and the IADB put together a joint coordination team in charge of defining homogeneous objectives and format for the different policy notes, as well as coordinating the inputs from the different sector experts. A total of 13 policy notes were prepared in 5 broad areas: macroeconomic management, the quality of public management, growth and competitiveness, electricity development and the social sectors.
In order to ensure the quality of the content and the consistency of the messages, in March 2013 all the different focal points on the WB and IADB side presented and discussed the different notes in a joint review meeting.
Finally, on March 9, 2013 the Dominican Republic Dialogue Day was held, comprised of around 10 Ministries and high level representatives and experts on the IADB and the WB side. The dialogue created a unique opportunity for multi-sector discussion around the Dominican Republic Policy Notes.
While the following results cannot be solely attributed to the Policy Notes, as some of them were already in the Government’s agenda, the Dominican Republic Dialogue Day was convened by authorities precisely to agree on the priorities and to use the World Bank’s leverage to move forward in certain areas. These are some of the areas that have noticeably registered improvement:
- According to the General Directorate for Public Procurement, the number of non-competitive biddings diminished by 21.1% in 2013. In addition, the number of procurement processes published in 2013 reached 57,000, compared to just 1,000 in 2012.
- On December 3, 2013, the International Finance Corporation issued Taíno Bonds for a value of US$390 million, in its effort to develop the domestic market for corporate bonds.
- In the context of progress towards a Single Treasury Account, as of December 2013, 12 out of 12 hospitals in Santo Domingo National District had been fully incorporated to the decentralized payment system, compared to just 6 as of July 2013.
- As of August 2013, the first monitoring report on the progress of the actions agreed at Dominican Initiative for the Quality of Education (IDEC) was made public.