Lessons from 20 years of UK support


A long-term partnership

The 1999 Constitution delegated responsibility for health and education in Nigeria to 36 states and 774 local governments. It also guaranteed a share of the oil and VAT revenues to help pay them. However, few states had the capacity to manage these resources well. Some even a basic budget process was missing and there was limited control of state budgets by state legislatures and civil society.

The UK began supporting state-level governance reforms in 2000. There have been three generations of governance programs, totaling an investment of over £ 275million. The states of Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano and (more recently) Yobe have all been long-term beneficiaries of this support and are the focus of research produced by PERL.

UK governance support combined technical assistance for PFM issues such as state budgeting with efforts to strengthen the capacity of civil society, media and State Assemblies to hold governments to account. governments. In addition to working to strengthen governance, these programs were also expected to increase the impact and sustainability of UK support to health and education.

Significant, but uneven, improvements in governance

Long-term PERL observers suggest that state-level PFM capacity looks very different today from that of the 2000s, even though the overall quality of PFM remains low.[5]Nonetheless, research suggests that progress has varied across different reform areas (see Figure 1):

· The most improved indicators of empowerment, accountability and transparency. All four states have made significant progress in the overall capacity of the media and civil society to hold the state to account, as well as in PFM such as budget transparency and participation. Notes on the Nigerian States Budget Transparency Survey went from 1% to 90% for Jigawa, for example.· The record of other PFM reforms is mixed. Jigawa and Kaduna, for example, have strengthened the links between planning and budgeting. But budget execution rates remained low in all four states, with only Jigawa showing sustained improvements over time and execution rates consistently at 90% or more. · Public sector management reforms have proved particularly difficult.Efforts to strengthen human resource management (HRM) or business planning in state ministries, departments, and agencies have not produced clear or sustained progress in any of the four states.

Nonetheless, as an important marker of overall progress, Jigawa, Kaduna and Yobe all performed better than Nigerian states on average on the World Bank’s benchmarks for fiscal transparency, accountability and sustainability (SFTAS) Program for results.

Figure 1: PFM and other governance indicators in four states

Notes: PSM = public sector management; E&A = empowerment and responsibility.

Type of indicator: GA = PERL Governance Assessment (and previous assessments of the SPARC (SEAT) / PEFA Self-Assessment Tool); CIA = assessment of influence on PERL constituencies; SAVI = SAVI result indicators; PFM = PERL PFM database; NSBTS = Nigerian States Budget Transparency Survey, Civil Resources Development and Documentation Center; TA = Team assessment (qualitative based on interviews and document review).

Trend / performance scores: green corresponds to indicators that have shown an improving trend or relatively strong performance when the time series is short; orange captures indicators where trends showed limited or inconsistent changes, and where performance was average; red is for cases where the indicators show a downward trend or poor performance in cases with shorter time series.

Source: See Annex 2 of the study on “Twenty years of UK governance programs in Nigeria“for detailed descriptions and rating.

Increased spending and improved outcomes for health and education

At the sectoral level, the picture is also generally positive. Despite growing budget constraints, Jigawa, Kano and Kaduna all significantly increased the share of public spending on health and education between 2003 and 2018. Yobe has been hit by the Boko Haram insurgencies, but has it all. the share of expenditure devoted to the health sector has likewise increased.

More importantly for citizens, all four states improved their health and education outcomes, such as the percentage of women receiving antenatal care from a skilled health provider and the school enrollment and completion rates. Primary studies.

What factors made this progress possible?

The research offers more information than this blog can summarize. In many cases, they help explain why the change occurred in a specific reform area or in a specific context. But when it comes to the bigger picture, three lessons stand out:

  • Lesson 1: Supporting ‘political credit’ is linked to more visible impact

Not surprisingly, reforms were less likely to take off and be sustained when they threatened powerful political interests. For example, improving human resource management reform was difficult because restrictions on the powers of recruiting and deploying staff threatened significant sources of favoritism.

When PFM reforms have supported lasting change, it is usually because the government has been able to claim political credit and push its agenda forward. For example, increasing civil society participation in budget prioritization was not only less threatening, it could also allow a given state government, and its governor in particular, to appear responsive and engaged.

The space for change varied considerably between the four states. Politics in Jigawa is dominated by a small group of elites with limited competition, which has given the governor the opportunity to forge a broad and sustained reform agenda. By contrast, Kano was mired in political conflicts and highly contested state policies, and as a result, successive governors focused more on distributing patronage than strengthening PFM systems.

  • Lesson 2: Building for the long haul can help address windows of opportunity

Of course, politics can change, and sometimes dramatically. Longer-term capacity and systems building can lay the foundation for improved PFM outcomes when opportunities arise.

This was the experience in Kaduna following the election of Governor El Rufai in 2015. With low oposition and sound A seemingly secure political position, El Rufai has promoted reforms to demonstrate his credibility and position himself as a potential candidate for the country’s presidency.

Building on previous British support, Governor El-Rufai is using governance agendas to implement his vision for reform and prove his leadership skills. Hetakes ownership of the State Development Plan, uses it to prioritize sector policies and spending, and coordinates donor support in the State.

  • Lesson 3: Linking PFM reforms to service delivery outcomes is not straightforward

Despite the ambition to use UK governance support to help improve the level and quality of spending on primary health and basic education services, the to what extent this has been achieved is unclear of PERL research.

There are clearly suggestive links between support for UK governance and service delivery. Efforts to strengthen civil society advocacy and linkages between sector policies and the state budget may have increased the priority given to health and education in the budget.

Yet it is unclear whether this has increased spending on first-level services which are funded jointly with local governments, but also by the federal government and donors. The fact that Kano achieved the greatest improvements in health and education without many improvements in governance shows that many factors were involved – notably the support from off-budget donors, but perhaps also the degree of urbanization.

It is still notable that support for PFM has focused primarily at the state level, while local governments play an important role in financing and delivering basic education and primary health services. Likewise, UK support programs working on improving governance and those working on sectoral service delivery have a mixed record in collaboration.

These are important lessons that should be taken into account as part of the next phase of governance programming in Nigeria.

[2]Director, Policy Practice.

[3]Director, Policy Practice.

[4]Doctoral candidate, University of Manchester.

[5]Although somewhat dated, the PEFA self-assessments were conducted at different intervals between 2007 and 2012. They suggest that all four states have an average of C or less for the PEFA indicators. Repeated ratings for Jigawa and Yobe indicate some improvement, while Kano and Kaduna have declining scores. However, the lack of quality assurance means that comparisons should be treated with care.

Note: Messages on The IMF PFM blog should not be flagged as representing the IMF’s point of view. The views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the IMF or IMF policies.

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