AfDB to support development of sound policy environment

The Acting Country Director, African Development Bank (AfDB), Mr Andoh Mensah, says the bank country’s strategy is to support the development of a sound policy environment, to ensure value for money.

Mensah said this at the opening of a three-day Value for Money capacity building workshop on Tuesday in Abuja.

He said that it was necessary to ensure that the little amount of resources available in any project produced great results.

Mensah said that the essence of the workshop was to address the present situation and also to strategise and plan on the resource that would be made available, to produce great result on value for money.

“Everywhere you go in government in private sector, you are supposed to do more with less so the idea of value for money is really coming at the right time.

“Where a country or community does not plan well, they will obviously not come out as those who had planned well, so the issue now is to correct the present situation.

“In Nigeria it requires a lot of will and commitment and planning; planning on the side of the authorities; planning even on the side of beneficiaries to ensure that whatever beneficiaries are getting, they know is the quality,’’Mensah said.

President of ECOWAS Commission, Mr Marcel Alain de Souza, said that the social sector needed proper attention but often neglected because funds needed in developing human capital were not provided.

De Souza was represented by Mrs Florence Iheme, Director, Humanitarian and Social Affairs, ECOWAS Commission.

De Souza said that efforts were being put in place to improve resource allocation to the social sector, adding that there were identified need to improve efficiency and effectiveness of current funding levels in the sectors.

The president called on the sectors to coordinate better, adding that most time people thought greater allocation should be given to certain sectors but often disregarded the output and outcome for which the fund should be used.

“I don’t believe that we are doing the best allocation to different sectors, especially in health and education sectors, which are critical for human development and so we need to interrogate the process of budgeting.

“I think the idea for value for money is to make sure that we look at critical components based on evidence in  statistics to make sure that we are targeting the sectors that need fund, especially the social sectors, where funding is needed the most,” De Souza said.

He said that training on ‘Value for Money, sustainability and accountability in social sectors was of immense importance to everybody engaged in allocating and managing public sector funds.

Chief Health Analyst, Mr Fabrice Sergent, said that ensuring good governance was fundamental in issuing the right financing strategy to achieve value for money.

Sergent said that most fund provided were wasted through massive inefficiency.

He said that the essence of the programme was to put in the right strategy to improve the situation, to get the best possible results with the available funds.

“We believe that if we do well with the available fund in health and education sector, it will encourage giving more fund to these sectors.

“ We need the right strategy choices and in particular, investing in what we call high impact interventions; these are basic investments that can go a long way in producing quality of services for people,’’ Sergent said.

Mrs Helen Barroy, WHO Senior Health Financing Specialist, said that the countries in the sub-region performance differed with the same level of money assigned to them.

Barroy said that the aim of the workshop was to look at areas of inefficiency so that“ we can improve the results with the same amount of money that is available without increasing any fund to get the best results”.

“For health and education sectors, we want the best result for the money we invest in these sectors; this topic value for money is crucial for us.

“For us its a win-win strategy for both health and finance authorities, to bring best result for health and education sector but also better transparency and accountability from a finance perspective,’’ Barroy said