Zimbabwe has adopted Results-based budgeting that will ensure that national resources are more effectively utilized in support of domestic development goals.
Results-based budgeting also known as program budgeting has been made possible through the Zimbabwe Reconstruction Fund (ZIMREF), a country-specific multi-donor trust fund approved by the Board of Executive Directors of the World Bank in May 2014, and is set to run until December 2019.
ZIMREF aims to contribute to the strengthening of Zimbabwe’s systems for reconstruction and development with a focus on stabilization and reform, development and poverty alleviation.
“Results-based budgeting will provide more useful information on service delivery that will allow for transparency and accountability in determining whether allocations reflect priorities, the delivery of services and monitoring the use of resources within each program,” said Johaness Herderschee, World Bank senior economist for Zimbabwe.
The rebirth of Zimbabwe’s fiscal planning
In 2012, the Finance Minister Tendai Biti challenged assembled experts and stakeholders to come up with both intellectual leadership and specific proposals to achieve the goal of the forum: Unleashing Zimbabwe’s Growth Potential.
He said: “only a mad person can continue doing the same things over and over again when they are not working.” Speakers at the forum presented studies that have since nudged Zimbabwe’s objective to focus more on the outcomes and results the spending is expected to yield.
With support from World Bank and other partners, Zimbabwe is set to improve its public spending and ensure a more effective use of the country’s resources, which align with the country’s development goals embodied in Zimbabwe’s Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (ZIMASSET).
Through ZIMREF, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development has been able to pilot preparation of program budgets for three ministries; Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, Ministry of Health and Child Care and Ministry of Public Service, Labor and Social Welfare.
Health Sector Technical Assistance (TA) Program
This World Bank Group (WBG)-executed TA program seeks to improve evidence-based planning and integration of empirical measurement for the health sector after 2015. The $0.67 million technical support to the government will enable a generation of robust evidence to inform policy, planning and management decision making, and the development of key health sector strategy and policy documents.
The work envisages technical assistance in four interrelated areas: National Health Accounts (NHA) 2015 and NHA institutionalization, national health financing policy, development of the National Health Strategy for 2016-2020, including a framework for Universal Health Coverage and the design of a health insurance pilot for Harare.
Education Sector TA
With the $0.69 million, the TA program will provide support to the government’s efforts to improve education outcomes and spending efficiency. The intended outcomes are to increase knowledge, strengthen capacity, and update practices in specific policy areas aimed to address gaps in education outcomes.
The program comprises three subcomponents on Teacher Development and Management, Student Assessment and ICTs in Education. These areas were developed following extensive discussion with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education. This work is benefiting from the ongoing preparation by the WBG of an Education Sector Public Expenditure Review. It is expected that this work will also lay the basis for a future stronger engagement for WBG support of Zimbabwe’s education system, following re-engagement.
By 2018, ZIMREF Results-based Budgeting TA program will have supported the roll out of program budgeting to all the nine ministries. Already, work in the remaining six ministries has started. The program will also continue to provide support to Parliament and civil society organizations that monitor public spending.
In addition to ensuring that the government reaches its set goals, program budgeting is important as it helps the government, parliament and civil society to better monitor and evaluate the efficiency of spending within ministries.