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Jan 31, 2007

I.D.B. grant seeks to streamline public management

Story PictureMinister of National Development Mark Espat and Financial Secretary Carla Barnett were at the Central Bank this afternoon to sign an agreement with the Inter-American Development Bank that would see more than a million dollars invested in making the Government more efficient. According to the I.D.B.’s Operations Specialist Harold Arzu, the initiative is part of a regional project to monitor the impact of development.

Harold Arzu, Operations Specialist, I.D.B.
“The bank believes that there needs to be more training, changes in the way business is done in the public sector and also strengthening the statistical offices so that we can measure indicators, performance indicators, so that we know that we are moving from one point to the next. And this is bank-wide, it is not only Belize. But when we consult with the various countries, the technicians in the public service, in the specific country, help to define how we are going to move with development effectiveness based on other diagnosis that the bank might have assisted in doing, help to shape the kind of programme that we have in this country.”

According to FinSec Barnett, the project would also support planned changes to Belize’s budgetary process.

Dr. Carla Barnett, Financial Secretary
“Every year we do a budget and it’s a little bit isolated from what may have happened two years ago or what’s going to happen in two years time. Well Cabinet has already decided that we want to move to a multi-year budgeting process, which means that we will have to have better skills in terms of forecasting revenues two, three years down the road, better skills in forecasting expenditures. The whole planning framework that we are talking about is important, because if you want to decide in any meaningful way today what you want to be doing in three years time, you have to have a basis for doing that. So your planning, your statistics, all of those things have to be in place. But our laws right now require a one year budget, so there would have to be a change in the law in that way.”

The first phase of the project is slated for the next eighteen months. In subsequent phases, Belize can access approximately three million dollars through the initiative.

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