Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Efficiency of Public Investments

From a workshop at KDI- Efficiency Enhancement in Public Investment Management

Public Investment in Chile - Building the Future

Measuring the Efficiency of Public Expenditure - Evaluation on the Government Program in Korea

Thailand Monitoring and Evaluation System

Planning, Programming and Public Investment Experience in Turkey

In all presentations were made concerning 10 countries: Australia, Belarus*, Chile*, China*, Ireland*, Japan, Korea*, Thailand, Turkey and Vietnam . These presentations and the accompanying papers provided insights into aspects of public investment management in these countries. Some participants drew particular attention to one case which was able to consolidate a great deal of data concerning the operation of public investment management, including the operation of PPPs, which have become increasingly important.

Other highlighted themes

A number of common themes emerged during the discussions:

* The role of central guidelines: Guidelines, which are then rigorously applied, were seen as a particularly critical aspect of a well functioning PIM system. Examples of such guidelines include: Guidelines for Total Project Cost Management System, Korea, 2007, and Guidelines for the Appraisal and Management of Capital and Expenditure Proposals in the Public Sector, Ireland, 2005. It was noted that the actual use of Guidelines was not always assured, thereby highlighting the need to see how systems actually work, rather than how they are designed to work. This was particularly the case for some developing countries, where there remains a need to develop guidelines.
* Evidence based research: Availability of good data was seen as a critical component in the evaluation of the efficiency of specific public investment projects, as well as for reviewing the performance of PIM systems as a whole. Some countries, most notably Chile and Korea, were able to assemble and publish a great deal of investment related data, which assisted the conference in understanding the mechanics of their PIM systems. Yet participants remained somewhat cautious of the ability to estimate efficiency of public projects, given data issues. Notwithstanding, there was general support to attempting to measure efficiency both ex ante and ex post.
* Increasing interest in and role of PPPs: There was general acceptance that PPPs can, for a number of reasons, accelerate the delivery of highly valued social services and infrastructure. Participants also agreed that the availability of PPP-related financing and use may need to be considered in the context of the availability of relevant expertise to assess PPP arrangements, the potential for optimal risk transfer, and value for money considerations. The Australian case usefully highlighted a number of the technical issues associated with managing a PPP portfolio.

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