The frontline ministry in the State’s programme to induce growth and promote investments has admitted that it has not been effectively monitoring and evaluating the implementation of Government policies.
In a submission to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the House of Representatives yesterday, in response to concerns raised by Auditor General Pamela Monroe Ellis in her 2013/14 report, the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce (MIIC) said it agreed with the concerns, but felt that they were “too sweeping”.
“The ministry does not have resources to carry out monitoring and evaluation in a structured way and, in that sense, the auditor general’s finding is true,” permanent secretary in the ministry Dr Vivian Brown said in his response. He claimed that the ministry has developed a monitoring and evaluation plan, which has been included in its 2015/16 – 2016/17 strategic business plan.
“The MIIC is hopeful that there will be human resource reinforcement to facilitate the requisite monitoring and evaluation,” Dr Brown submitted. “Simultaneously, however, special responsibilities have been assigned to the chief technical officer and specific divisional directors to assist in this area in the immediate term in order to meet the requirements.”
He said that the ministry has also sought assistance from the Public Sector Transformation and Modernisation Group (PSTMG) of the Cabinet Office, as well as the corporate management and development branch of the Ministry of Finance and Planning.
“The fact is that the MIIC has not been sufficiently vigorous and insistent in having its departments and agencies submit not only annual performance reports, but also quarterly performance reports. This has been part of the weakness of the corporate planning and monitoring and evaluation capacity and will be addressed going forward,” Brown submitted.
He said that the ministry has also developed a rigorous plan to address the matter, and will be working with the Cabinet Office to ensure that its agencies and departments use a standard format for reports, and an annual timetable will be issued in keeping with the requirements of the Cabinet Office.
Additionally, he said that a division director, aligned to specific agencies and departments, will be charged with these responsibilities.
In her report to Parliament for the last fiscal year, Monroe Ellis had noted that: “Our review of the policy documents developed, wholly or partially, by the ministry indicated that the ministry had not been faithfully monitoring the implementation of the policies.
“We also found that policy implementation is done by the agencies under MIIC’s purview. Monitoring and evaluation of the policies should take place at the ministry level, through the provision of oversight to the agencies. However, we found that the ministry did not carry out any significant amount of monitoring, neither did they evaluate policies after implementation,” Monroe Ellis stated.
The report also indicated that monitoring of the policies took place only at the drafting stage.
The Auditor General’s Department said that it was unable to ascertain the number of policies monitored over the period 2011-2014, as no report was produced.
“Without this evaluation process, MIIC would not be able to determine the extent to which the policies were impacting the respective sectors, in accordance with the stated objectives,” she added