Strengthening Finance Ministries in Pacific Key to Economic Growth - ADB, PFTAC

NADI, REPUBLIC OF FIJI (8 November 2011) – Pacific finance ministries need to improve budgeting and staffing in order to achieve sustainable economic growth, according to delegates at a regional workshop jointly organized by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Pacific Financial Technical Assistance Center (PFTAC).

The workshop, held today in Nadi, was attended by senior officials from Ministries of Finance representing 16 Pacific countries. Participants shared their knowledge and experiences on strengthening management of public finances, particularly in the area of medium-term budgeting, which allows for more effective allocation of limited government and development partner resources.

"Good medium-term budgeting contributes greatly towards macroeconomic stability and delivery of essential public services, and is a key focus of ADB’s support towards its Pacific Developing Member Countries," said Adrian Ruthenberg, Regional Director of ADB’s South Pacific Subregional Office in Suva. "International experience has shown that medium-term budgeting can lead to the achievement of better economic management outcomes, for example, improved fiscal balances, and increased social sector spending."

At the workshop, delegates discussed good practice in the region for medium-term budgeting, focusing on systems, processes and practices that have been proven to work, particularly in economies that face financial, institutional, technological and capacity constraints. They agreed to work together to develop and implement these practices.

"The governments of the Pacific island countries have a clear commitment to strengthening management of the public’s money," said Matt Davies, PFTAC Coordinator. "Intensive capacity building is required to help them achieve their commitments. Practical workshops such as this, which aim to build partnerships between countries and a broad range of development partners, are an essential component of our assistance to the Pacific."

ADB, in partnership with PFTAC, is assisting Pacific governments to better manage their public financial systems. Specific areas of support include: cash management; budgeting cycles; and accounting processes and procedures.

PFTAC was established in 1993 as an office of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) responsible for providing technical assistance and training to Pacific island countries. It is a collaborative venture between the IMF, recipient countries, and bilateral and multilateral donors.