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Poor implementation retarding regional growth


PR/SAT

Poor implementation retarding regional growth

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Poor rates of implementation and week implementation strategy are hampering growth in the region, says president of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), Dr Warren Smith.

Speaking at the opening of the 2019 Caribbean Forum in Bridgetown, Smith said these were some of the challenges confronting Caribbean public sector managers.

“Moving the needle on the solutions to our region’s perennial challenges requires a relentless commitment to implementation, starting with a cultural shift that encourages increased accountability,” Smith said.

“We often joke about Caribbean people always being late, but time is money, undermining our capacity to deliver goods and services in a timely manner, and undercutting our ability to compete based on low cost and high quality.”

Lateness is only one manifestation of the implementation problem, noted Smith.

Public sector investment programmes are underperforming, with an implementation rate below 35 per cent being reported by a number of countries. This low rate also undermines private sector confidence and its willingness to invest.

The implementation challenge also affects the work of the CDB, and is manifested in growing levels of undisbursed balances. Other development agencies face similar concerns.

“None of us are delivering on our development mandate if the funds intended for these countries remain in our coffers. Our goal should be for the intended beneficiaries to be able to access these resources for high priority development projects as quickly as possible,” said Smith.

CDB is addressing the implementation issue from several fronts, including supporting behaviour change in its borrowing member countries through institutionalised delivery mechanisms. The Bank has also trained over 2 000 in public policy analysis and project-cycle management since 2016.

The president announced the Bank will launch e-learning modules to reach an even larger number of public officials in the Caribbean.

Under the theme Regional Transformation for Inclusive and Sustainable Growth, the 9th Caribbean Forum co-organised by the CDB, the Government of Barbados and the International Monetary Fund, brought together 200 senior policymakers, public, private, and multilateral development partners. (PR/SAT)

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