In 2009, the global economic downturn was posing challenges to Colombia’s near term economic performance and public finances. Over the last ten years, the Government had made important advances in the improvement of public management tools and systems in areas covering expenditure and revenue, monitoring and evaluation, macro-programming and debt management functions.
The Bank had provided support to the different phases in the development and implementation of these systems and tools through several different projects, including the first and second Public Financial Management Projects (PFM I and II). However, there were remaining structural and other challenges to fully operationalizing existing tools and systems.
Advances in the implementation of performance-oriented information mechanisms and integrated financial management tools - and the consequent impact on information - were viewed as important for enhancing the quality of expenditure and efficiency of public revenue collection as well as improving the transparency, efficiency, and efficacy of public management of resources.
The Consolidation of National Public Management Information Systems Project was designed to strengthen and fully operationalize key public management tools and systems in the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit, National Planning Department, and the National Tax and Customs Directorate (DIAN), including the systems for public finance (SIIF-Nación), public investment (SUIFP) and tax and customs administration (MUISCA).
Moreover, by building upon and consolidating the achievements of the PFM I & II operations (P006889, U.S.$30 million and P040109, U.S.$35.47 million), the project sought to enable the inter-operability of the existing systems and promote the full use of information resulting from these integrated public management tools and systems in order to enhance strategic decision making.
The Project contributed to solidifying and expanding upon the gains achieved through past work, and further improved the transparency, coverage, operation and interoperability of Colombia’s national public management information systems, allowing the decision-makers to link performance measures with planning, budgeting, and other managerial actions. The Project supported advancements including:
- As a result of the successful launch of SIIF-Nación, coverage has been improved, with the system now covering all central government entities and 105 decentralized entities and 100 percent of information on general national budget execution being available on a daily basis (previously 85 percent). SUIFP now covers all stages of the investment process, and with the passing of Decree 2844 (2010), use of the system is now required by all central government and decentralized entities (as well as subnational entities with investment projects financed by the central government) to present projects. In DIAN, 66 services, covering areas such as implementation of price controls institutional procedures for process management, etc. were developed.
- Work has also contributed to strengthening transparency and accountability. It facilitated the development and launching of the Economic Transparency Portal, through which 100 percent of consolidated general national budget information is accessible to the public one day after it becomes available.
- In terms of operation, the time lag to produce aggregate financial data for both the central government and decentralized entities was reduced from 35 days to 1 day, and average customs clearance times decreased from 48 to 6.7 hours with electronic payment.
- In terms of interoperability, the information in SIIF-Nación and SUIFP on budget allocations and execution is now fully consistent and there is 100 percent interoperability between SIIF-Nación and the Banco de la República’s payment system. Additionally, pilots were carried out to integrate the data generated by various different government systems.
Bank Group Contribution
This project was financed through an IBRD loan of US$ 20.42 million. Moreover, it built upon the achievements of the PFM I & II operations (P006889, U.S.$30 million and P040109, U.S.$35.47 million),
Project implementation was carried out mainly in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit (MHCP), the National Planning Directorate (DNP), and the National Tax and Customs Directorate (DIAN). The three agencies worked proactively and in coordination to adjust project activities to shifts in priorities and institutional structures, finding forms that were both aligned with the achievement of project objectives and institutional realities. Their emphasis on training and communication played a critical role in consolidation efforts.
During the implementation process, the Bank and the Government have discussed the possibility of continuation of Bank support to activities well-beyond the scope of the project, including:
- Development of an extended system of SIIF-Nación;
- Development of integration interfaces for external systems (important for the next phase of work to further institutionalize interoperability);
- Rollout of the implementation of the new business model (developed under this project) for the DGCPTN (Public Credit and Treasury Directorate) and the supporting information system, and;
- Continuing support to DIAN, particularly on the implementation of a customs module.
The direct beneficiaries of the Project were the Colombian decision-makers, both within the Presidency and individual agencies who, through the use of performance-based information, will be able to link performance with planning, budgeting and other managerial actions. The general public will also benefit from strengthened public sector performance, consolidated fiscal discipline and better resource allocation.