The Royal Government of Bhutan and the World Bank signed a US$ 4mn grant on Thursday to help Bhutan manage public funds more effectively and improve procurement and budgetary systems, with the overarching goal of strengthening delivery of public services and enhancing governance.
According to finance secretary, Nim Dorji, sound public financial management is critical for good governance, which is one of the four principles of Gross National Happiness.
“Proposed public financial management reforms will go a long way in strengthening accountability, transparency, efficiency and effectiveness in resource mobilization and allocation of public resources to achieve our development goals”, he said during the launch of Bhutan public financial management multi-donor fund.
“We are grateful to the World Bank for forging the partnership between the government of Bhutan, the World Bank, European Union and Austrian development agency through the public financial management multi-donor fund,” he added.
According to a press release issued by World Bank, Bhutan has made transparent government spending and strong legislative oversight a priority, toward a more open and accountable government.
The public financial management project, which supports this effort was established under the public financial management multi-donor fund (PFM-MDF), a joint program of the World Bank, the European Union and the Austrian Development Agency.
The key objective of the PFM-MDF is to help government implement its PFM reform program in a coordinated and holistic basis and to scale it up. This is done through a basket-funding mechanism by establishing an MDF, which provides a common platform for development partners to come together by pooling their resources and efforts in strengthening PFM in Bhutan.
“Bhutan has made important strides in PFM reforms. Thimphu Thromde is the first borrowing country agency in the world to have its procurement system and regulations cleared for use in World Bank financed projects,” said World Bank Country Director for Bhutan, Qimiao Fan.
Head of Cooperation, Delegation of the European Union for Bhutan, Jerome Pons said that strengthening public financial management is a cross cutting theme that will positively impact all projects and schemes in the country, irrespective of their funding source.
Acoording to Counsellor and Resident Coordinator, Austrian Development Agency, Johannes Binder, the Austrian development cooperation maintains its support to good governance in Bhutan with participation in this PFM-MDF.
“In this joint program, we shall continue to highlight key cross cutting issues of capacity development as well as social and gender–equality, in support of a just and equitable society and sustainable development, which shall ultimately benefit all people and sectors of Bhutan,” he said.
Pema Seldon from Thimphu