In the era on fiscal stress since the global recession in 2008, governments around the world are trying to minimize their costs and effectively manage the public expenditure. They do so through effective managing and evaluation of (M&E) of the public expenditure.
The government as the body that has the responsibility to spearhead development and fulfill the needs of citizens through strategic budgets and effective implementation. There is a need to link the public needs and the resources available and to motivate administrators in government institutions to manage the institutions effectively. Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) is concerned with managing the performance of government to drive towards delivering the demands of the budget. The M&E should work as a control measure to guide the government activities and achieve a performance based budget (Slukhai, 2011). The democratic nations internationally uplift the social priorities and apply steps towards Performance Based Budgeting (PBB). To shift from traditional budgeting and improve government performance, by involving employees in the budget so that the government move as one with clear goals as to what is to be achieved. The missions, visions and objectives of a government must guide its policy geared towards achieving maximum performance and addressing the issue of scarce resources. The main idea is to do more with less for the benefit of the taxpayer and ensure unity of different government institutions with a common understanding of set goals (Botlhale, 2015). The performance must be measured to see whether the objectives are being achieved. It analyses whether progress is being made towards achieving the policies and organizational goals. Measuring performance is very important because it expresses the costs and results of activities to measure how the product or service is being provided to the public. In the country like Botswana the budget process is guided by National Development Plans (NDP). The NDP is a major tool for implementing the policies and programs to achieve the goals of the budget. It is a road map which shows the proposed projects thus guiding the allocation of resources to different ministries. These developments have to be assessed and tracked from time to time to ensure that progress is being made in the desired direction. We are monitoring the pulse of the government to tell if we are doing well. Monitoring is relevant as it links the budget expenditures to the results achieved within certain periods of time looking specific programs. In most economies of developing countries like Botswana there a shift towards performance based budgeting requires that budget public demands must be met effectively with the available scare resources. In such economies therefore monitoring and evaluation must be a national anthem and government policies must be strategic. In countries like Ukraine they adopted a performance based budget with monitoring and evaluation at the heart of the process. They established an external financial monitoring in the ministry of finance, the accounting chamber and the Control Service (KRU) (Slukhai, 2011). M&E is all about managing the performance and coming up with tools that will be able to guide institutions in measuring their progress. The key concept is Performance Management.
This study discusses the monitoring and evaluation concept with the aim of exploring how government bodies carryout M&E in Botswana. This therefore will be understood by discussing monitoring and evaluation in Botswana as the critical elements of a Performance Based Budget (PBB). It first assess the PBB with more focus on its component Monitoring and evaluation. The second part analyses Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) in Botswana as to how performance is managed by government institutions. A recommendation is then given at the end followed by a conclusion.
PERFORMANCE BASED BUDGETING (PBB)
It is the purpose of this first part to define PBB as it creates a clear understanding of the issue at hand (M&E). PBB is seen as a solution to problems associated with traditional budgeting, to shift from holding public institutions accountable for the results they achieved rather than the amount they spent. PBB is concerned with the success of all programs that have to do with spending, that the money spent must be equivalent to the results achieved. This can be achieved by dividing the long term programs in different terms and setting the results that are supposed to be met in short deadlines. A budget is expected to be responsive to the entitlements of citizens and to address all concerns of citizens. The PBB is a way of increasing the trust people on their government because it advocates for transparency and efficiency. People will see their money being spent and the results visible as well. There is more transparency with PBB because oversight bodies are created to ensure that public funds are used accordingly (Nabi, 2008). The shift towards the PBB makes several demands on countries, these include inter alia accountability that is concerned with the government to provide information about the activities of government which will allow citizens to hold government accountable. So the citizens must have the right to information so that they can challenge the government in courts if they are denied critical information. The other demand of PBB is transparency which is more related to accountability but emphasizes on the provision of information about the input and the output to track government spending and efficiency. Last but not least is the program management which requires that information be provided to program managers to enable them to be efficient and improve the effectiveness of the program. The shift to PBB is more concerned with including all stakeholders do deliver the budget demands, its demands are seen as the ingredients for improving budget effectiveness. Countries are now more concerned with performance management and to compel different institutions to provide certain information to stakeholders. The executive branch of government is one which in most cases leads the process of PBB through implementation of the budget, availing the information and through spending reviews. The success of PBB however depends on other institutions as they facilitate it and carry out its other critical demands like monitoring and evaluation. They can put pressure on the government to shift to the PBB and availing information to other stakeholders. Other government institutions like the legislature can hold other institutions accountable through some committees (Shaw, 2016). Botswana is also one of those countries where the government wants to reform the budget and adopt the PBB. The traditional budgets that most countries used to follow had many deficiencies and would not create an environment where the country can operate at its maximum potential. Looking at issues of gender, they were not gender sensitive and they did not address the children specifically as well. Some of the initiatives of government would fail because of lack monitoring and managing the performance. The overseeing institutions will only realize later when the damage has been done, when the money was spent and with no results in place to present to taxpayers.
The PBB can be achieved through the monitoring and the evaluation of government programs. Whether long term or term goals there has to be an overseeing body tom measure monitor the progress. Evaluation comes as the very last step when the project is over to answer the question have we arrived where we wanted to be? Monitoring on the other hand is done from the commencement of the program to the last stage, the main question it tries to answer is are we on track? Since monitoring is ongoing it can reveal the weaknesses or strengths of programs. Being aware of such issues will enable the government to be reactive enough in terms of continuing with certain programs or to terminate them. A good example is…. We come up with indicators as our measuring tools to monitor the performance. With M&E we will not only be tracking our programs but it will guide us to develop appropriate ones as well. We also improve the efficiency by making information available thus making it easy to monitor the progress. In the ministry of health in Botswana for example they “also introduced systematic filing Of health reports by maintaining centrally placed manual Files and creating electronic databases, thereby improving Data management” (page 4). This have improved transparency and information availability (Mulamuli Mpofu, 2014). Proper monitoring will increase people trust n the government, they will take ownership of the policies and support them as well. M&E helps to improve the design of the public programs by getting the necessary feedback on time. For example the study that was funded by the World Bank to assess the quality of education in public and private schools depended on evaluation of the previous years to observe the trend. It used annual survey for the years 2003-2007 to inform the budget on education in Pakistan. Monitoring is done to keep the officials on the right track and to ensure that spending is done specifically as parliament has agreed. If done properly is can reduce issues of corruption where funds are diverted without and the national priorities are abandoned. An example is the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) saga of 2017 where the DIS requested funds to build fuel storages to control prices of fuel locally and protect the country not to be hit hard by changes in the international fuel prices. When 250 million pula was released to the organization, a month later they had diverted money to buy spy equipment in Israel. And they were so secretive arguing that they cannot reveal any information because it’s a matter of national security. It must be understood that PBB cannot solve all problems but its approach can encourage development, for the policy makers to evaluate progress and reflect what went wrong and what needs to be corrected. Evaluation aims at careful scrutiny and assessment of the design, effectiveness and impacts of government projects and use the feedback to inform the decision making. In some instances M;E is given much attention when there is pressure from international bodies that make donations to a country. When a country receives aid, the donor wants to see the results of the donation the same way as taxpayers wants to see results of their tax. But paying more attention to donor agencies may cause the government to focus on meeting the accountability of the donor rather focusing on the needs they identified as needing more attention (Carlisle Levine, 2013). Many sub Saharan African countries have developed national evaluation policies. Countries like Kenya and South Africa have approved these policies that establishes these core contents of the evaluation process, the principles, the typology as well as the standards of evaluation that the government must meet. These policies are facilitates for M;E because they clarify what evaluation exactly, how it is measured so that all government institutions have the same understanding of the process and moving in one direction governed by the same rules. The purpose of analyzing these public programs from a results perspective is to improve the rate of delivering the budget and using public funds for the programs they were allocated to (Boyle)