A mid-term evaluation seeks to examine progress made during the first two and half to three years after start of implementation of a strategy or project. This provides an opportunity for adjustments during the remaining period of implementation and is a key input to the development of the successor strategies.
The Public Financial Management Reforms Strategy 2018-2023 during its formulation envisaged a mid-term evaluation that was supposed to be conducted at the mid-point of the strategy to analyze if the reforms are on track, challenges encountered and what corrective actions are required.
It should be noted that there was a paradigm shift in the preparation of this third strategy which is the first one to adopt a results based approach. The uniqueness doesn’t end there and indeed, the funding model adopted by the development partners supporting the strategy is a program for results approach which in essence is an incentive program for the government
In line with the above, the mid-term evaluation exercise was conducted between November to December 2022. The first phase of the process involved a thorough desk review of relevant reports and documentations. These included reports from implementing agencies, the specific programmes financing agreements, the PFM reforms matrix updates among others. The purpose of the desk review was to capture progress from documented sources on programme implementation and lay the ground for fieldwork. The second phase involved feedback consultations with the thirty-three (33) implementing Ministries, Departments and Agencies supported by the programme. This was aimed at clarifying or verifying the information obtained during the desk review phase.
Finally, the last phase entailed visiting and holding feedback consultations with sampled counties, which have indirectly benefited from the programme through capacity building and systems strengthening. The selected Counties were diverse in terms of geographical spread, budget size and challenges faced (e.g., former Cities and former municipalities). At this level, it was the goal was to establish the support to counties and the intervention being carried out through the strategy are improving PFM issues and impacting positively on service delivery.
The key findings of the evaluation includes:
• The development of a joint revenue strategy and rationalization of tax expenditures which has led to a more predictable and sustainable increase in fiscal space. Available data indicates a reduction in tax expenditure and an increase in tax revenues.
• The time required to clear cargo from Mombasa port of entry has been reduced significantly which has facilitated the ease of doing business.
• Reforms on budgeting and planning both at national and county budgets are now comprehensive and more credible this is due to a smooth budgeting process guided by clear budget calendars and increased capacity building, and automation of the budgeting process. This has contributed to strengthening the strategic allocation of resources.
• The automation of the exchequer release system has ensured adherence to the disbursement schedule to MDAs and Counties which translates to the availability of funds for major services and investment projects.
• Some reforms around procurement notably the legal framework i.e., the gazettement and dissemination of the procurement policy and regulations has improved transparency and efficiency in procurement processes and contract management. The acquisition of end to end e-government procurement systems is also ongoing
• The government of Kenya is moving towards consolidation of HR information through the unified HR system to ensure prudent management of wage bill and in ensuring accountability in staffing for service delivery. This has been done through upgrading of GHRIS and the acquisition of key infrastructure.
• A harmonized framework and guidelines for financial management and quality controls of service facilities and oversight by Counties, line ministries and other institutions have been developed. These facilities are required to adopt simple budgeting financial management and reporting systems.
• Due to compliance with reporting standards at both levels of government, the quality of financial statements has greatly improved. This has translated to increased discipline in the management of revenues and expenditures.
• It now takes eight (8) Months between receipt of consolidated and quality-assured financial statements by OAG for the audited financial statements to be submitted to Parliament. The up-to-date reports are useful for timely and informed decision-making.
In conclusion, the mid-term evaluation shows that 51 percent of the planned reform key steps in the PFMR Strategy 2018-2023 have been achieved, 4 percent are in the course of being achieved, and 45 percent are still pending. This to some extent has so far led to the achievement of some of the strategic outcomes.
The delayed achievement have been occasioned by a number of factors, but majorly the inadequacy of funding due to austerity measures and the covid-19 pandemic of 2019/20 to 2021/22.
Through the coordination of the PFM reforms secretariat the National Treasury has already initiated the preparation of the successor strategy 2018-2023. There will be many lessons learnt given that this was the first results based strategy which has been funded through a program for results approach. These lessons together with ongoing or pending reforms will possibly rolled-over to the next strategy with an emphasis of maintaining the basic structure of results based orientation.
Joel K. Bett
Monitoring & Evaluation Specialist