ISLAMABAD: The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved $400 million in financing from the International Development Association (IDA) to support Pakistan in accelerating investments in education and health services in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province.
The KP Spending Effectively for Enhanced Development (SPEED) Programme will help the provincial government strengthen its management of public resources and fiscal planning to sustain human capital investments in education and healthcare services.
By implementing critical reforms in budget allocation and expenditures, the provincial programme will contribute to increased quality of schools and health centres and remove obstacles to reach “the last mile” in the delivery of education and health services in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
“The SPEED Programme supports a comprehensive and robust approach to public financial management in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa that tackles key bottlenecks in planning, budgeting, procurement, and supply chain management so that adequate resources are available to deliver education and health services on a sustainable basis,” said Najy Benhassine, World Bank Country Director for Pakistan.
“It also underscores the provincial government’s commitment to increase transparency in public finances, service delivery, and citizen trust.”
KP SPEED will enhance fiscal management and savings through incentives that focus on quality service delivery and accountability in education and healthcare facilities.
It also supports monitoring and evaluation to systematically assess staffing and infrastructure needs.
The programme will implement quality assurance measures to evaluate the performance of education and healthcare services in the province, which focus on facility-level accountability and increased access, as well as disparities in the uptake of services among males and females.
“The SPEED Programme, together with the ongoing KP Revenue Mobilization and Public Resource Management Programme, offers a transformative path for the province to scale up public services for its citizens,” said Raymond Muhula, Task Team Leader for the KP SPEED Programme.
“The programmes align with the provincial government’s public financial management reforms strategy to support budget execution and expenditure management, and revenue mobilization.”
KP SPEED will improve predictability of resources to provide access to medicine in primary healthcare facilities, including maternal and neonatal clinics for women across the province, and increase availability of adequate teaching staff in at least 45 percent of primary, middle, and high schools in the province, and particularly for girls’ schools.
According to the Bank statement, the World Bank’s programme in Pakistan is governed by the Country Partnership Strategy for fiscal year 2015-2020 with four priority areas of engagement: energy, private sector development, inclusion, and service delivery.
The current portfolio has 57 projects and a total commitment of $13 billion, it added.
According to the project documents, the proposed program supports GoKP strategies to improve health and education service delivery including (i) Public Financial Management (PFM) Strategy (2017-2020); (ii) Health Policy (2018-2025); and (iii) Education Sectoral Plan (2020-2025).
These three documents constitute the government’s programme.
Additionally, it aligns with the Economic Recovery Plan (2019-2023) that was launched in July 30, 2020 to help the province recover from the impact of COVID-19.
More specifically, the program aligns with pillar 8, “Adopting Innovations to Governance and Service Delivery” to support actions to improve government processes, increase transparency, and improve service delivery.
Altogether, these strategic documents constitute the GoKP’s plan to address both the upstream structural weaknesses in the management of public resources and downstream operational issues in service delivery such as procurement, funds release, timely budget execution, and accountability mechanisms to facilitate the availability of resources for the delivery of education and health services.
The proposed program is designed to advance the reform plans outlined in these strategic documents.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021