Strengthening Public Resource Management Program: Completion Report
sector: Public Sector Management | country: Tajikistan
A program concentrating on a single area is much more likely to have a bigger impact than a program with several focuses
In order to have a meaningful and more sustainable impact, policy reforms should focus on areas in which ADB has been engaged and remains involved over a longer time period.
Where country systems are weak, program monitoring could benefit from TA (technical assistance), as in Tajikistan. The TA could focus on expenditure tracking mechanisms, internal controls, and external audits; and be conducted in two stages. In the first stage, when monitoring capacity is still weak, experts could be engaged to monitor program-supported expenditures rather than relying on the government to submit monitoring reports. The second stage would focus on improving country systems to help the transition of monitoring tasks from external experts to government staff.
In countries with capacity challenges, reforms take time as limited capacity results in implementation delays. This must be accounted for in design.
A multiple tranche design or program cluster design is useful, as it brings more balance to the program and helps keep up the government’s commitment, even though such a design has high transaction costs for the government and ADB. Such designs also discourage the tendency for the government and ADB to include easier actions in the initial tranche and tougher ones in the later tranches, thereby unbalancing the program and leading to less than successful ratings. The incentive tranche kept ADB and the government engaged and kept the reforms on track.
Policy reforms invariably require a champion to steer and lead. The Minister of Labor and Social Protection, who had earlier been the Chairman of Amonatbank, was the key figure in promoting the plastic cards pilot program. Despite some issues (some of which may still linger), this remains a modern step in pension reform in the region. Similarly, the reforms in the Tax Committee had considerable government ownership and support. During the program, the President announced issuance of a new Tax Code, an action that was endorsed by the program.
Gender-related goals are generally easier to monitor if they are policy conditions instead of targets in the DMF (design and monitoring framework).