Opening Remarks at the Annual Meeting Seminar on Delivering Effective Public Services

Speech | 4 May 2013

Opening Remarks by ADB President Takehiko Nakao at the Annual Meeting Seminar on Delivering Effective Public Services held on 4 May 2013.

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen:

I am pleased to be here to take part in the discussionon delivering effective public services.

Effective delivery of public services is essential to sustainable and resilient economic growth in the region.

First, even good policies and timely government intervention will not bear fruits without effective public services. For instance, Asia needs huge infrastructure investments for further growth. But hard infrastructure investment must be combined with soft infrastructure, such as effective implementation of policies and regulations. Otherwise, infrastructure systems will not perform well and will not have the intended impact.

Second, Asia still sees high rates of poverty, and the developmental challenges remain huge. Given the finite resources, we need to enhance efficiency of public expenditures. Effective public services are crucial in this regard. Resource mobilization, including private sector involvement, is also important. Simplified administrative procedures, transparency in public administration, and good governance will build investor confidence and encourage further investment.

Third, effective public services are crucial to achieve inclusive growth. Poor and vulnerable people depend on public services more than those with larger incomes and greater assets.Thus, without effective public services, those people will be left behind and this will lead to larger inequality.

In short, more effective public service delivery will help countries maximize the impact and efficiency of development policy, increase needed investment, and thus achieve sustainable economic development and inclusive growth.

ADB's Long-term Strategy 2020 identifies governance as a key driver of change. I also emphasized in my vision statement for the election that ADB, together with other international partners, can encourage countries to continue to pursue sound macroeconomic policies, make progress in needed structural reforms, and improve governance. ADB should further enhance its ability to provide knowledge solutions and capacity building for developing member countries.This annual meeting's theme is "Development through Empowerment." Empowering the people is a powerful way to improve governance for effective service delivery.

The distinguished panel assembled here today is well-equipped to provide valuable insights into how public service delivery can be improved. To achieve a flourishing Asia, public institutions must actively embrace innovation and reforms. I am looking forward to insightful discussion today.

Thank you.