PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad -- Senior policy makers from the ministries of finance, education, health and agriculture in three Caribbean states recently received a comprehensive introduction to the ECLAC Development Account project, “Strengthening the technical capacity of public finance managers in select Caribbean Small Island Developing States (SIDS)”, from which their countries will benefit.
A high level ECLAC mission that included the director of the sub-regional headquarters for the Caribbean, Diane Quarless, visited St Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda and Barbados, to inform project stakeholders about the upcoming activities of this ongoing project. The project will also be introduced to policy makers in Belize.
The project focuses on increasing the capacity of policy makers and finance managers to apply the methods and procedures for better monitoring and forecasting of public expenditure and revenue, and is expected to have a positive outcome on the efficiency of public finance management in the selected countries, ultimately helping them to improve their debt ratio and contribute to a more stable economic environment and to social development.
It was conceptualized in light of the severe effect of the recent global economic crisis on the economies of the Caribbean, which aggravated the already existing high debt burden, reduced the fiscal space and limited the capacities of public sector technocrats to manage public expenditures and revenues. The need to improve such management was determined to be a critical issue that must be addressed in order to increase the efficiency of economic stabilization programmes in the region.
The project is being implemented through a series of integrated activities including specialized research, knowledge and capacity building activities (seminars and workshops), technical advice and upgrading of public finance management systems. Moreover, targeted follow-up will be undertaken to determine additional capacity needs, prior to targeted technical advisory missions to support the effort of member States to incorporated into their public finance management practices, processes and systems, the skills and knowledge acquired.
The three year initiative, which began in 2015 with analysis of each participating country to determine their respective needs and priorities, includes the preparation of a training manual and accompanying reference material to facilitate the conduct of expenditure reviews, planning and forecasting revenue and expenditure and developing approaches for enhanced fiscal transparency.
National training workshops using this manual will begin in June 2016 in each of the participating countries. These national workshops will be designed to respond to the specific priorities of the participating countries.