ISLAMABAD: The World Bank is working with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to prepare a programme that will help the latter respond to the post Covid-19 recovery agenda and deal with longstanding deficiencies in the public finance management.
The programme, titled Spending Effectively for Enhanced Development (Speed), will support selected actions of public financial management strategy, health policy and education sectoral plan at an overall cost of $600 million. The World Bank will finance a portion of the programme with a loan of $375m while the KP government will provide the balance.
The objective of the SPEED programme is to improve the availability and management of public resources for delivery of primary, middle and high-school education and primary health care services.
The provincial government faces challenges in the management of public finances including policy-driven planning and budgeting; comprehensive, credible, and transparent budget; predictability and control in budget execution; resource mobilization; asset and liability management; and accountability for results. It has been implementing a programme comprising strategic objectives derived from key plans at a cost of $1 billion.
By achieving the development objectives of SPEED, the programme is expected to contribute to the World Bank’s over-arching goals of ending extreme poverty and promoting shared prosperity by supporting the Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) results on service delivery, and specifically improved public resources management, which aims to help the provincial government to improve public expenditure to create fiscal space for spending on public services. The programme is also aligned with the key International Development Association-18 theme on governance, and the sustainable development goal on governance and institutions.
A large and increasing pension bill poses a considerable fiscal challenge for the KP government as it reduces the fiscal space to finance essential services such as education and health. Civil service pension expenditures increased from about 3.2 per cent of provincial fiscal revenues in 2009-10 to 20.6 per cent in 2017-2018.
The programme will ensure provision of adequate facilities for health and education service delivery through development of climate resilience plans for providing missing infrastructure to primary, middle and high schools, and primary health care centres; solarisation of primary, middle and high schools and primary health care centres.
Published in Dawn, April 3rd, 2021