HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 574:27 July 2011

Taskforce report a tsunami of actions

The final report of the Economic Taskforce presents government with a problem. That is, how to handle the more than 200 recommendations, many of which have been rated priority 1.
From the 46 page report, comes a tsunami of actions for government’s consideration. Within each category or economic sector covered, comes a further series of mini-tsunamis of action.
It will almost certainly require another taskforce to decide how the recommendations are to be implemented then the formation of a high powered implementation team to ensure that the end product, the “big picture,” like a giant jig saw puzzle, emerges in a cohesive fashion with no pieces missing.
On reading the recommendations it’s clear government will require a massive dose of self belief, political will and injection of funds if any real changes are to be made. The grassroots voting public who were largely non-participants in this exercise, and who are already struggling to make ends meet, will need convincing.
In this issue we focus on what the taskforce is recommending in relation to our development partners. See extract below. We also look at the New Zealand government’s contribution in terms of funding for various projects. See chart below.
“Our Development Partners
There is need for a Joint Government & Development Partners approach to development finance to align grants, technical assistance programs, and capital investment projects. Prior to approaching our Development Partners with the concept of collaboration and joint programs we must first complete our 10 year National Sustainable Development Plan. An essential part of the NSDP will be to identify each capital works project and to prepare comprehensive project documentation that follows a predesigned template, including the project description, design, technical specifications, project needs & assessments, feasibility and funding. These all need to be prioritised with timelines in accordance with national objectives and approved by the National Sustainable Development Commission.
In this light, Government should:
• Develop Economic Policy for 2011-2012, medium term 5yr, and long term 10 years
• Align the Budget 2011-2012 policy with Economic Summit outcomes
• Align each Joint Donor preferences & commitments into the new 10 year capital budget which will sit under the NEDP
• Coordinate capital funding (grants and development finance) from all donors in the context of the new 10 year Capex Budget & National Economic Development Plan 2011-2021. Align processes consistent with the 10 year annual budget summary for all revenues and expenditures, both capital and operational. Essentially moving to a Development Partner joint managed budget funding rather than the annual adhoc project funding process
• Streamline the Aid Management process restructuring the Public Sector Development Finance process centralising expertise and capacity within Banking environment under CIIC
• Achieve best outcomes aligned to the strategies of our 10 year NSDP, the Joint Development Partners wishes and international best practice
• Adopt a policy that maximises the level of grant funding from our Joint Development Partners and Institutional Agencies in priority to Development Finance and to establish these plans supported by comprehensive costed project plans and feasibility studies.”
It should be noted there is no reference to the 20 year Master Infrastructure Plan which identified the costs of improving infrastructure at $237 million. Under that plan, $55 was to be spent in the first five years improving water and waste management. The current status of this plan is unknown and there needs to be some indication from government as to whether the 20 year plan has been put on hold, shelved or abandoned.

Herald Issue 554 09 March
- Norm exposes Trio of Doom
- Briefs from PM’s media conference Tuesday
- Tourism Industry ponders $5 million draft strategy
- Norman George resigns from Cook Islands Party
- Letter of Resignation from CIP
- Norman selfish says Prime Minister

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