Managing public investment is one of the most challenging jobs for governments, particularly in the developing world. For public investment to effectively generate development, countries must have the technical and institutional capacity to ensure that the projects selected have the highest economic and social rate of return.
In 2010, Suriname laid out an ambitious development program with a number of public sector investments, particularly in infrastructure, to diversify the economy and boost economic growth. To help the country obtain the maximum return on its investments, the IDB is working with the government to implement comprehensive reforms to improve the efficiency of public expenditure management.
The reforms represent a concerted effort to plan, manage, execute, and monitor the use of public investments in the entire budget cycle. They are setting clear selection and prioritization criteria for public investment and modernizing financial management, procurement, and audit and control systems to ensure greater transparency and accountability in the decision-making and execution processes.
For example, starting in 2012, public investment projects had to be outlined in the government’s investment program and subject to a formal review by the Ministry of Finance, which verifies a project’s technical, financial, and socioeconomic feasibility as well as its alignment with national development priorities.
Over the past two years, the government has established a mechanism for the identification, selection, budget allocation, monitoring, and evaluation of public investment projects. It has created a roadmap to enhance public financial management, put in place regulations for public procurement, and launched a public procurement portal to increase the transparency of government purchases.
Last year, Suriname approved a conceptual framework for a new budget law outlining the roles, responsibilities, and coordination required among ministries to streamline the budgetary process and ensure resources are properly allocated to fund public investments.
The steady pace at which reforms are being implemented shows that the authorities are committed to changing the status quo. As a result, Suriname is on track to ensure it gets the maximum development return for every cent of public investment.
Steps to Improve Management of Public Expenditure in Suriname:
- Proper prioritization and selection of projects ensures that the most important projects are fed into the budget process
- Revamped public financial system provides the tools to properly allocate resources and monitor the implementation of investments
- A modern procurement system generates greater value for money, the quality of spending, and competition.
- An overhauled audit and control processes ensures transparency and accountability.