Executive Summary - ‘Akako’u’anga
MFEM’s Strategic Plan 2022-26 is designed to guide our prioritisation and resource allocation over the next four years. It fits within the Cook Islands Government’s strategic framework and the authoritative guidance provided by the National Sustainable Development Agenda (NSDA), the Economic Development Strategy (EDS) and Economic Recovery Roadmap (ERR). The detailed implementation of the Strategic Plan will be developed through MFEM’s Annual Business Plans.
The enduring elements of our organisation shape the Strategic Plan – our vision, our mission and our values – which speak to our commitment to professionalism in managing public finances, service to the Cook Islands Government and community and our upholding of Cook Islands Public Service values. The Plan identifies the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and the need to progress the long-term economic development priorities of the Cook Islands as the dominant external factors which are likely to shape our operating context over the next few years.
The strategic influences on our Plan flow through to a tight focus on four priorities over the next four years:
1. Securing a strong and sustainable economy – firstly, reversing the economic damage caused by the pandemic and, secondly, putting in place the foundations for long-term sustainable, strong economic development.
2. Restoring sustainable public finances – maintaining core public services and investing in critical infrastructure while reducing public debt and deficits over time.
3. Providing leadership to strengthen the Cook Islands public sector – consistently working in partnership with our public sector colleagues to improve outcomes for the community together with a particular leadership role in driving improvements in the quality of public sector financial management.
4. Strengthening MFEM’s Capacity and Connectedness – our people are our most critical asset, and are crucial to achieving the other three priorities. This means investing in the skills and expertise of our workforce, whilst ensuring we draw on all the perspectives and insights across the organisation to deliver the best quality service to the Government and the community.
Our priorities are ambitious, and the expectations on us are rightly high. As our resources are necessarily limited, we will need to be constantly agile in working internally and with our partners across the community to make progress. The crisis environment of the pandemic has required all of our divisions to be agile in how we work, which positions us well to remain agile to meet the challenges of coming years. The Plan also sets out performance measures for each of our four priorities to ensure that we learn from our experience and stay on track to deliver on them. As the Strategic Plan is implemented, we expect to develop and expand our set of performance metrics to provide a richer narrative of our performance as an organisation.
Our journey forward - Te Ara Tukatau
Consultation with our staff and key stakeholders allowed us to collect valuable feedback. We have worked hard to ensure that the Strategic Plan is balanced and talks to the two main audiences, our staff and our Cook Islands people. What did the audiences say they wanted from MFEM:
Our staff: To feel part of the document. They want clear career paths and learning and development opportunities to be available and accessible. To work as one united Ministry and gave their appreciation of MFEM taking a more agile approach.
Key Government stakeholders: To collaborate at a whole Government level and see MFEM providing an important leadership role to keep pushing process improvement and productivity (i.e. budget, financial management, statistics, evaluation and monitoring).
Private sector: To work closer with MFEM using a more proactive engagement approach. Coming back to stakeholders and trusting stakeholders and themselves in sharing information and thinking. DCD to create more awareness across the sector of opportunities for external finance.
Our Cook Islands people: To apply customer-centric design to create user-friendly processes and systems. They want every interaction to be a great experience.
In this video, Cook Islands Tourism CEO Karla Eggelton talks about the role tourism plays in the Cook Islands economy, and how it benefits our local communities.
In this video, Office of the Prime Minister Policy Analyst Charlene Hoff talks about how changes in our population affect our community.
In this video, MFEM Senior Collections Manager Linda Ailao discusses what it means to diversify our economy, and our biggest challenge with this.
Acknowledgement - ‘Akameitaki’anga
The Cook Islands Government acknowledges the technical assistance provided by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to support MFEM’s institutional strengthening, including providing guidance and support to develop this Strategic Plan. Parts of this publication may be reproduced or copied without any written authorisation from the authors, provided acknowledgement is extended to the Government of the Cook Islands.
Photos supplied by Cook Islands Tourism.