The National, Monday June 24th, 2013
By ABIGAIL APINA
THE West New Britain administration has made a commitment to focus on improving its performance in service delivery.
Provincial planner Isidore Silong said one of their key performance areas was planning and budgeting.
He was speaking at the joint National Economic and Fiscal Commission (NEFC), Treasury, Finance and Provincial and Local Government Affairs’ Islands regional workshop in Kokopo last week.
Silong said this had been lacking for years and involved costing out programmes and linking them to chart of accounts; formulating annual activity plans and budget review forms; and running capacity building workshops on planning budget arrangements and consultation with LLG presidents.
He added that WNB was one of the six resource-rich provinces in the country apart from Western, New Ireland, Morobe, Enga and Southern Highlands.
However, WNB’s spending over the recent years was not reflective of the province’s ability to fund most of its obligation in terms of service delivery, he said.
Silong said the province needed to revive, improve and strengthen performance monitoring systems particularly the quarterly budget review process at the provincial, district and at local government levels.
According to NEFC’s latest provincial expenditure, WNB is ranked 17, which caught the attention of Governor Sasindran Muthuvel who wanted to improve basic service delivery.
“One of the things we want to achieve this year onwards in order to improve our performance ranking is to improve on minimum priority activities (MPA) programming and this means capturing the MPA indicators and correctly itemising them,” he said.
“This will mean establishing a provincial data system by sector to easily measure the MPA indicators,” he said.
Silong told the workshop that the province only began implementing three years ago since the introduction of the Reforms of Intergovernmental Financing arrangements in 2009.
“We have completed our smart planning and hence, put in place systems that is clearly understood by all field services division including the two districts and 12 local level governments. This exercise meant rationalising more than 10 programmes accept for health to six or less programmes currently and we are doing program budgeting that is tied to the chart of accounts and link to the PGAS system,” he said.