John Müller: Where is the data?


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Peter Drucker, the father of modern organization management, is credited with saying, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” Other versions indicate that it would be a summary of a sentence by the distinguished British mathematician William Thomson, the discoverer of the ‘zero of Kelvin’: «What is not defined cannot be measured. What is not measured can not be improved. What is not improved, is always degraded.

Since last August, the General State Intervention (IGAE), dependent on the Ministry of Finance, has stopped publishing the execution data of the so-called finalist expense charged to the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan (PRTR). The disappearance of the data was verified after the

AIReF quoted it in its report on the General State Budgets for October: «At the end of August, only PRTR expenses amounting to 104M have been executed in a finalist manner». Pablo Casado attached the figure and tweeted it on October 28, 2021: «Of the €24,205 million of recovery funds budgeted by the Government, Sánchez has only executed 104 million in a finalist way». This really pissed off the government.

The figure is brutal, but it has an explanation: it was the first, registered in a month with the Administration at half machine and on a total of funds actually transferred by Brussels of 9,037 million that arrived on the 17th of that same month. But the anger of the government has left us all blind and now there is no criticism or praise because there are simply no numbers.

It is true, as the CEOE, EY and other analysts point out, that the transfers of funds between Brussels and Madrid, and between Madrid and the autonomous communities, do not move the GDP needle. This only moves when those funds are executed in a finalist way, that is, when a company or an individual receives the order to start up.

The world of budget execution is full of pitfalls. It is not the same to see it at one year than at four. The bureaucracy is very slow when transferring the data because there are many regulations that affect the definition of ‘executed project’.

But Brussels is not going to accept excuses when it wants to evaluate us to release the other tranches of funds. And it will not be enough for him that we have spent them on paying scholarships for artists abroad, he will demand concrete results. It will count one by one the 238,000 electric vehicles and recharging points that we have promised for December 2023. And it will measure the increase in renewable energy production of at least 8,500 MW as well as the creation of at least two renewable hydrogen clusters. And before December of this year, it will ask us if we have already provided the 50,000 new Vocational Training places compared to those existing at the end of 2020 and that should add 135,000 more in December 2024. [email protected]

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