The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (LKY School) are partnering once again to address management and policy challenges in the public sector in Asia.
This time, the collaboration focuses on specific public policy issues in five Asian countries: China, India, Indonesia, Mongolia and Pakistan. A joint research on these issues was combined with an executive programme that was delivered on 13–15 May 2013. A conference, “Getting Policies and Practices Right: Public Sector Management Issues in Asia”, was held on 28–29 October 2013 to present the results of joint research and to share knowledge on the challenges and prospects in governance, public policy, and public sector management in the region.
“Getting Policies and Practices Right”
The October conference presented the results of research conducted during the past year in five areas: governance of the health sector in China; public-private partnerships of the water sector in India; the impact of fiscal decentralisation on infrastructure in Indonesia; natural resource management in Mongolia; and the role of microfinance in promoting financial inclusion in Pakistan. During the conference, ADB experts, LKY School faculty and senior policy makers from the five countries came together to discuss the results of the studies and assess the recommendations.
The range of research topics in the ADB-LKY School project reflects the diversity of ADB projects being implemented in the region. After the ADB-LKY School project was launched in October 2012, under the lead of LKY School’s Assistant Professor Eduardo Araral, co-authors examined policies from various countries in Asia and considered their applicability in other countries. For example, China’s public-private partnership projects in the water sector were considered for India. Importantly, ADB experts and LKY School faculty conducted the studies together and policy recommendations were developed jointly.
Dr Bindu Lohani, Vice President of the ADB, opened the conference by highlighting the importance of sharing knowledge and effective policy implementation issues in order to improve governance.
Feedback from country representatives and conference audience
Country representatives included Mr Lakshminarasimham Krishnan, CEO of IL&FS Urban Infrastructure Managers Ltd. from India; Mr Marwanto Harjowiryono, Director General for Fiscal Balance of Ministry of Finance, Indonesia; Mr Dash Bat-Erdene, Advisor to the Minister of Mines in Mongolia; Ms Aban Haq, COO of the Finance Network of Pakistan; Assistant Professor Alex He of Hong Kong University; and Mr Wei Zheng, a National Officer from UNICEF (and currently a MPA student candidate at LKY School).
One of the conference highlights was a study on the recent developments in mining policy in Mongolia and a proposal to introduce a Resource Rent Tax (RRT) in the mining sector. An RRT could help the Government of Mongolia create a sovereign wealth fund from revenues generated by some of the richest gold and coal deposits in the world. A macroeconomic analysis was conducted by Prof Dodo Thampapillai, Environmental Economist at LKY School, together with Dr Jan Hansen, Country Specialist of ADB based in Mongolia and Ms Aigerim Bolat of LKY School.
At the conference, Mr Dash Bat-Erdene, Advisor to the Minister of Mining in Mongolia and Dr Banzragch Delgermaa, Ambassador of Mongolia to Singapore, were grateful for the efforts made by the ADB and LKY School and expressed their thoughts on the importance of creating a sovereign wealth fund in Mongolia. They pointed out the need to learn about the establishment of sovereign wealth funds from countries like Singapore, Norway and Israel.
Feedback from the conference participants, consisting of policy makers, academics, LKY School students and representatives from think tanks and institutions based in Singapore, was invaluable and validated the importance of the research findings and policy recommendations.
This stage of the joint project will be concluded with the publication of the research studies at the end of the year. The next item on the agenda of the ADB-LKY School collaboration is to oversee and monitor the implementation of the recommended policy recommendations in the five countries.