Ministry toughens planning

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Professor Biman Prasad says there is a strong desire for visa-free travel to Australia and New Zealand from PIF member countries . Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

The Finance Ministry has strengthened its planning unit in an effort to ensure budgetary allocations to government ministries are delivered efficiently and effectively.

Line Minister Professor Biman Prasad referred to the issue on his tour of the West last week, which took in 16 project sites.

The minister said he was working alongside his staff to ensure huge gaps identified and poor planning and monitoring were toughened this financial year.

“There was a huge gap and if you recall, we used to have a separate Ministry of National Planning. Any country which is serious about well-managed strategically designed development strategy would have a strong planning office, and that was totally gutted and removed over the years,” Prof Biman said.

“So, what I have done as Minister of Finance is to strengthen and set up a strong national planning office which includes monitoring and evaluation of expenditure and projects, and we will be on top of some of these problems which we have encountered in the past because of a lack of proper planning and monitoring and evaluation.

“It was very important for Ministry of Finance staff and for me to look at some of these project sites and, essentially, within the Ministry of Finance, to make sure that allocations in the budget are delivered efficiently, effectively and that we get good outcomes and value for money.”

The minister said positive remarks from people he visited this week signified improvement at community level.

He added it was also vital for those in government to not only focus on delivering the expenditure allocated in this budget, but to also start thinking about the next budget.

“We should think about a four-year budget, how we can link one budget to another and how we can deliver from one budget to another, so that in the four-year term of this Government, we are able to deliver the outcomes that people need.”

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