The Department of Implementation and Rural Development (DIRD) has a responsibility to regulate the financial and reporting requirements to the Government of Papua New Guinea for the Service Improvement Program (SIP), Constitutional Grants (CG) and Public Investment Program (PIP) paid to Sub-national levels of government in the provinces, districts, LLGs and Wards.
DIRD has been having difficulty managing stacks of manual files of paper-based acquittal reports presented by the 22 provinces and 89 districts. There is no efficient database management system in place to effectively appraise acquittals and generate reports to track the expenditure and impact of the SIP funds provided for in the development budget.
Vice Minister for Finance and Rural Development and Member for Nuku Hon. Joe Sungi had consultations with the Minister Councilor and Representatives from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) in early 2019 and requested for DFAT financial assistance to enhance the capacity and a develop a digitized database management system for DIRD to effectively monitor and provide summary reports for Members of Parliament on the use of SIP, DSIP, CG and PIP funds at Sub-national levels of government.
A number of consultation meetings between DFAT, Vice Minister Joe Sungi, the Managing Contractor of Decentralisation and Citizen Participation Partnership (DCPP), Abt Associates, and the Acting Secretary for DIRD. Funding for the design of DIRD SIP and District Information Management System (DIMS) was secured through a Memorandum of Agreement under the Kina + Kina facility funded by DFAT. DIRD contributed K300,000 as counterpart funding to Abt Associates and DFAT committed AUD1.1 million for the first phase under the new Markets, Economic Recovery and Inclusion (MERI) project.
Catalpa, an international Information and Communication Technology (ICT) service provider was awarded the contract by DFAT to work with DIRD to build and deliver a Minimum Value Product (MVP) of a SIP-DIMS management system by November 2020.
There were three main phases of the SIP and DIMS Data Management System that were identified in the proposal:
Phase 1: Mobilisation and development of a Minimum Value Product (MVP) – 6 to 8 months;
Phase 2: Implementation and Integration (12 months); and
Phase 3: Scale Up and Technical Skills Training (18-24 months).
The initial design mission by the Catalpa Team reported that:
- DIRDs SIP Management System is largely paper based and that it is both unmanageable and unable to meet DIRDs regulatory and financial management and reporting requirements to the Government of Papua New Guinea (GoPNG);
- The Department does not have high utility and appropriate district data and analytical system (DIMS) to effectively support the implementation of the SIP nor to measure impact of the Government’s rural investment program (SIP, CGs and PIP); and
- The SIP-DIMS management system needs to be better linked to the financial management system.
The Catalpa Team in their assessment report recommended that “DIRD needed to consider developing a new fully integrated, fit-for-purpose and user-friendly SIP Management and DIMS System. This system once built, tested and operationalized will have to be rolled out to the 21 Provinces and 89 District in the country. An initial assessment of the ICT readiness for the provinces and districts will be needed to identify the capacity of provinces and districts to use the SIP-DIMS management system to improve the efficiency of the acquittal and reporting process for the appropriation of development funds allocated to Sub-national levels of Government. DIRD should then be able to use the SIP-DIMS Management System uploaded from the provinces and districts to generate reports for Governors and Open Members of Parliament on the use of development funds and its impact on socio-economic indicators for the majority of people in rural areas in PNG.