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ISLAMABAD: The government is seeking a $400 million loan from the World Bank to implement Public Finance Management Strategy (PMS) 2018-27 to bring improvement in procurement systems and accountability in service delivery for the health and education sectors.

A World Bank document says that the current Public Finance Management (PFM) limits the impact of ongoing health and education operations through inefficient and ineffective management of funds, lack of transparency which can undermine accountability, and coordination challenges between federal and provincial governments.

The proposed programme will address these challenges through transformative measures like, enactment of a robust PFM law, which will lead to empowerment of front-line service delivery managers by decentralisation of payment processing and availability of real-time budget execution reports for timely decision-making.

Furthermore, greater transparency and accountability will be achieved through establishment of e-procurement; audit trails of procurementsp; tracking of expenditure to service delivery level; allowing for direct beneficiary monitoring of public expenditure through social audit to improve delivery of services; auditing of performance information in financial statements.

The reform strategy will consolidate PFM progress and make incremental improvements to ensure that systems deliver to their full potential in an accountable and transparent manner.

The PFM strategy is further supported by the approved Department of the Auditor General of Pakistan strategic plan (2015-2019); the CGA action plan; and the National Procurement Strategy and Training Plan (2017-2021).

The ‘Vision-2025’ envisages a responsive, inclusive, transparent and accountable system of governance as a crosscutting foundation for all its pillars.

The government programme as indicated in PFM reform strategy consists of six pillars, and these are: revenue mobilisation; fiscal management; service delivery and results-based management; public investment management and public private partnership; oversight, transparency and accountability; and vertical integration.

The World Bank Country Partnership Strategy (2015-19) recognises service delivery in health and education as key areas of the bank.

It also envisages seeking opportunities to address malnutrition in a multi-sectoral way by adding nutrition components to programmes in various sectors.

The proposed strategy will reinforce key results areas, which consist of legal framework and internal management system in line ministries and service delivery units.

Published in Dawn, November 26th, 2017