Editorial: Focus on results-A A +A
Friday, October 25, 2013
THE Asian Development Bank reported about a results-based lending program it has piloted in Sri Lanka.
As reported in its website, “A $200 million loan to revamp Sri Lanka's secondary school system marks the first results-based lending program approved by ADB. This means that payments are linked to the achievement of results, such as the rollout of a full curriculum in schools, upgrading physical and learning facilities of secondary schools, and training school principals. The program, which was approved in June 2013, will help the Government of Sri Lanka to strengthen its education sector to meet the growing needs of its economy.”
While it’s in Sri Lanka, the lessons that are cropping up from the implementation of the program is worth repeating.
Top on the list is the critical role of consultation with stakeholders, where not only the ministry of finance and education are converged, but most importantly the provincial staff and school communities.
As had repeatedly been learned in development programs, the role of direct stakeholders, the locals themselves, is key to the success of every endeavor that seeks to benefit a particular locality.
Second lesson is the importance of robust assessment and due diligence of the program’s soundness to ensure that the funds for the programs are used efficiently and economically and potential environmental and social impacts are addressed.
“Adequate risk mitigation actions, including capacity building, then form part of the RBL (results-based lending) program,” the news reads.
Third, the focus on implementation even before the program is approved. Meaning, disbursement-linked indicators should be doable and achievable so that implementation will not be all about accounting for the money, but should instead be facilitated access to resources so that the program runs its course and achieve favorable results. The checks and balances will still be there, but this will not take center stage to the detriment of the desired result.
The desired result here is improvement in people’s lives and not just mere access to loan facilities. As defined, results-based financing links disbursements directly to the achievement of program results and not to evidence of program expenditures. Results are measured by clearly defined disbursement-linked indicators.
This is an interesting way of delivering programs, which both local and national government units and agencies can strive to do given the broken trust people now have against government funds and programs. Measure the results, report it, have it verified, instead of just reporting on how the money was disbursed.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on October 26, 2013.