The ministries of Youth, Sport and Culture and Labour and Home Affairs, as well as the Administration of Justice and Parliament, have been named as the worst performers thus far in terms of spending their development budgets for the 2022/23 financial year.
Earlier today, Finance Minister, Peggy Serame said as at January 31 this year, the four had spent less than 20 percent of their development budgets. The ministries of Minerals and Energy as well as Lands and Water Affairs had used more than 80 percent of their development budgets, while Finance, Infrastructure and Local Government had used between 60 and 80 percent by January 31.
The minister revealed that as at January 31, just about 65.4% of the P16 billion development budget approved for the 2022/23 financial year had been spent.
The financial year elapses on March 31, whereupon the Transitional Development Plan (TNDP) kicks in for the next two fiscal years.
“From year to year, the recurrent budget is generally spent, usually above 95%, but the development budget is where there is always an issue and a lot of times, after we present the budget, the outturn is very different,” Serame said in a press briefing this morning. “This worries us because it points to a number of challenges with project implementation. “Are we putting projects in the budget that are ready for implementation or they are at low stages, or perhaps the issue is inaccurate costing?”
The minister and her deputies said litigation by contractors had grown to become a major hindrance in the full implementation of the development budget. Previous studies by government, some as recent as last year, have shown that the challenges around implementation include poor scoping, weak monitoring, capacity constraints and inaccurate costing of projects, ineffective appraisal of projects, weak monitoring and evaluation, lack of coordination and fragmentation amongst authorities, as well as corruption.
Under the TNDP in which government plans to spend P64 billion on various projects in the next two fiscal years, concerted efforts have been made to tackle implementation across ministries and agencies. Besides changes to the public procurement process, government is banking on the introduction of a development manager who will take over implementation of major works.
The handing over of more projects in the public infrastructure pipeline to Public Private Partnerships is also expected to boost implementation.