Book Review: Governing PFM reforms

Posted by Jean Pierre Nguenang

There is an ongoing debate in public financial management (PFM) circles about how to design and implement PFM reforms in low-income countries (LICs). Critics argue that two decades of reforms have failed to produce the intended changes and that the institutional frameworks for implementing PFM reforms have been inadequate. Contributing to this ongoing debate, Mr. Ephrem Makiadi, recently published a book in French entitled “Gouverner les réformes de la gestion des finances publiques” or “Governing PFM reforms.”

The target audiences for this concise and comprehensive book are officials in Ministries of Finance (MoF) and PFM reform units in fragile states. This book discusses the key components reformers need to consider when designing and implementing a PFM reform strategy and action plan. These components include: diagnostic assessments, prioritization and sequencing of PFM reforms, technical assistance, supporting units for monitoring and implementation of PFM reforms, and communicating strategy for reforms.

Many components highlighted in the book are well known to PFM specialists. Nevertheless the book makes a novel contribution by presenting a new approach to supporting the design and implementation of PFM reforms in fragile states (see Figure 1). This approach consists of adopting a project management method, similar to that used in implementing infrastructure projects, in order to implement PFM reforms. Moreover, the author highlights the importance of coordinating committees and meetings among the various stakeholders to help resolve overarching issues.

Figure 1: New Approach to PFM Reform Design and Implementation

Source: “Gouverner les réformes de la gestion des finances publiques” or “Governing PFM reforms”

Other interesting aspects of the book include:

The book is comprehensive, however there are some gaps in its analysis especially in relation to the challenges countries face in designing and implementing a PFM strategy and its corresponding action plan.

Finally, while this book makes an important contribution to improving PFM systems, the debate on how to design and implement PFM reforms in fragile states is ongoing and will continue in the years ahead.

If you want to know more, visit the link:

[1] M. Andrews. 2013. The Limits of Institutional Reform in Development: Changing Rules for Realistic Solutions. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.

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