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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Management for Results: Shortcomings, Controls and Risks

The Journey to Management for Results in the Government of Benin

Édouard Houssou, the Inspector General of Finances of the Government of Benin provided an overview of the West African country. Gabin Mehou, the Deputy Executive Director of Budget described the origins of budget reform in his country. Government performance management was a byproduct of financial reform. There had been a lack of a medium term view. Internal audit control was inadequate.

Budget reform included linking both capital and recurring budgets. Program structure in each Ministry in the Government of Benin was created. Linkages between strategic and sector objectives were created. Performance measurements were developed. Planning become medium-term. M. Mehou described the prerequisites needed to support reform. He described the 10 year cycle for reform.

An Engagement Protocol was signed between the Government of Benin and the World Bank. The Protocol ensures the eventual implementation of results-based management

M. Houssou suggests that developing a clear view the institutional reform completion point and implementing Management for Results at the program level is required for success. He described the three pillars of reform:

  • Poverty Reduction Strategy and aid harmonization (Paris Declaration)
  • Medium-Term Expenditure Frameworks as an ideal vehicle for poverty reduction
  • Program budgeting to enable allocating budget resources based on clear political choices.

Interesting performance statistics were presented. Benin has seen some reduction in poverty outcomes after implementation of reforms. M. Mehou pointed out that poverty is not just about money. He showed how Human Development Index (HDI) has increased significantly.

There are often unexpected results. There had been some misinterpretation of some performance requirements in Benin. And, there has been a desire in ministries to spend. Despite these unexpected results the Benin experience has proven satisfactory at domestic level. It has generated interest with the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), whose recent guidelines have drawn extensively on the experience in Benin.

Management for Results tend to reduce control. The Government of Benin analyzed how controls were loosened in Canada. M. Houssou warns that Management for Results in not an infallible management system The Government of Benin is looking at linking controls to risks. He described an overview of controls in Benin.

M. Housson suggests that there are shortcomings in Management for Results. There have been scandals in both Canada and Benin related to lack of controls. The best management system in the world must focus on the human element and unexpected results.

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