Many public resource reforms, especially those relating to taxes or concessions as in the SPBL, have political and economic implications and are often difficult to undertake without strong ownership. The SPBL implementation success is attributable to (i) a good understanding of the vested interests, (ii) the institutional capacity of government agencies, (iii) effective partnership and coordination between ADB and the government, and (iv) a strong sense of appreciation for the overall benefits of the program.
This special policy-based loan (SPBL) was developed in close consultation with the government and development partners, including the International Monetary Bank and the World Bank, and was designed through a holistic approach. The experience demonstrated that a comprehensive and holistic consultation process can ensure effective diagnosis of the issues, leading to a strong, relevant policy matrix that prioritizes reform measures and sets realistic timelines in collaboration with the development partners.
This program comprised 29 policy actions: 11 for subprogram 1 and 18 for subprogram 2. The total number of policy actions was significantly large, particularly in subprogram 2, and represented a challenge in monitoring and implementation. The number of policy measures should be limited so that ADB can monitor compliance with them effectively throughout the program.
PFM and SOE reforms to ensure fiscal sustainability, like those in the program, have political and economic implications and are difficult to undertake without strong ownership. The implementation success of such policies resides in (i) a good understanding of vested interests; (ii) the government’s strong commitment; (iii) the institutional capacity of government agencies; (iv) effective partnership and coordination between ADB and the government; and (v) a strong appreciation for overall program benefits. All these were observed in the program.
This program was developed in close consultation with the government and development partners including the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, Agence Française de Développement, and United Nations Development Programme, and was designed through a holistic approach. It demonstrated that a holistic consultation process can ensure effective diagnosis of the issues, leading to a relevant policy matrix that prioritizes reform measures in collaboration with the development partners.
This program supported the preparation of the medium-term framework (MTBF) and MTBF manual, including gender-responsive budgeting tools at the MOF. Program experience has highlighted that institutionalizing change-management practices among those charged with implementing reforms requires enhancing both technical and change management competency. It is also necessary to enable the government to sustain capacity development programs beyond the life of a program for instance, by providing training experts, particularly to develop soft capacities.
This program successfully tackled a wide range of highly complex, interlinked issues. In addition to the appropriate sequencing of reforms, its success was attributable to the development of adequate capacity among key stakeholders, including the Ministry of Finance (MOF), Central Bank of Uzbekistan, and State Asset Management Agency. Capacity development was made possible by the provision of ADB technical assistance.
A road map approach, which integrates intensive support for all the three triage groupings (liquidated, privatized, and retained and improved), agreed or urged in the 2013 IMF Extended Fund Facility and reiterated in 2019, and provides a much more targeted and politically sensitive communication strategy can help Pakistan gain headway in reforming its PSEs.
While Kiribati had an incentive to reform, the country also has limited reform capacity. It needs to focus on a few critical actions and to be clear on the development outcome of each prior action, including identifying an indicator that can be monitored. The requirement where the five largest SOEs were to submit audited accounts may have underestimated the institutional capacity that was required to achieve it.
A clear line between the prior actions and the overall development outcome is important so that the program achievements can be judged consistently.
If a TA grant is not directly provided to support reform implementation, it is important to link reforms to existing areas of technical assistance. ADB helped support SOE reforms before and after grant release, so there was existing support in the area, which would continue after the PBL. The program also benefited from the government and development partners creating a joint policy matrix, which listed a series of policy actions that preceded grant release and supported a post-partnership framework.