Article on Public Administration in Pakistan

All local governments are to function within the provincial framework. Provincial governments are to ensure service delivery through policy, regulation, guidance, incentives, oversight and monitoring of outcomes. Development authorities i.e. Public Health Engineering Departments, Local Government and Rural Development Departments, and Water and Sanitation Agencies are to be devolved to local governments. No local government function is to be performed by the provincial government or any other agency/body. There shall be no vertical programmes or parallel structures for execution of local government functions. Local governments are fully empowered to take any administrative and financial decisions relating to their functions. Local councils should notify their own byelaws relating to the delegation of financial and administrative powers The NGOs and civil society should assist in developing the capacity of local governments and facilitate the local governments in improving service delivery. The CCBs mechanism should be used for channeling development activities.

The Police Order 2002 was a major step towards making police more efficient and accountable to the people. It is aimed at institutionalizing a system of checks and balances through the creation of public safety commissions at the district, province and national levels. The financial and administrative autonomy of the police has been protected to ensure professionalism. The reorganization of the police on functional lines with investigations being separated from the watch and ward function would insulate the police from political interference. With the abolition of the executive magistracy, the police are now answerable to the Zila Nazim and the system of safety commissions at the federal, provincial and district levels. District Public Safety and Police Complaints Commissions and Police Complaint Authorities have been set up and the Head of District Police accountable to these new institutions. Union Public Safety Committees will be supported to provide feedback on police performance and law and order at the union level.

The devolution reforms were aimed at devolving power and responsibilities from the federal to the provincial, district and down to the Union Council level. The federal to provincial devolution was expected to strengthen provincial autonomy and in turn the local governments. Work on this is expected to be completed in the near future. The local government system has created a new relationship between the provincial and district tiers. The government is slowly developing a strategy to guide the shift from the existing provincially focused service delivery system to an effective system run by local governments with standards for quality. The provincial governments recognize the need for a major restructuring of provincial departments.

The full implementation of the local government system requires civil service reforms. It is necessary to adapt the public administration at all tiers (and the officials from multiple services to the new reality of devolution and to make it more focused, performance oriented, transparent, accountable, dema and responsive to citizen demands. Merit-based recruitment and promotion criteria; performance-based compensation, incentives to improve innovation and to increase the demand for professional skills are integral components of reforms. Efforts are underway to create District service at the local level.

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The successful implementation of devolution is dependent to a large extent on the capacity of local government institutions and the quality of officials working in the local governments. Budgeting, planning, monitoring, financial management, accounting and auditing are some of the key areas where capacity building efforts have focused and need further attention. Capacity building is viewed as an on-going process rather than a one-time initiative. The capacity of the training institutions to deliver training to local governments will be geared up to meet new challenges. Assistance will be sought from the Federal and Provincial governments, development partners, NGOs, and other institutions for building capacity of local government officials.

Access to justice is an important part of the governance reform agenda of the Government. The programme is designed to support the five related governance objectives:

  • providing a legal basis for judicial, policy and administrative reforms
  • improving efficiency, timeliness and effectiveness in Judicial and Police Service
  • supporting greater equity and accessibility in justice services for the vulnerable poor
  • improving predictability and consistency between fiscal and human resource allocation and the mandates of reformed judicial and police institutions at federal, province and local government levels
  • ensuring greater transparency and accountability in performance of the judiciary, policy and administrative justice institutions.

The judicial reforms launched by the Government with assistance from the Asian Development Bank mainly focus on development and capacity building of key institutions that provide both judicial and non-judicial legal services; security and ensuring equal protection of law to the citizens, in particular the poor, strengthen legitimacy of state institutions, provide support to institutional and organizational changes necessary for implementing reforms; and creating conditions conducive to pro-poor growth especially by fostering confidence of investors and private sector. It encompasses the following five main areas:

  • Improving governance structures, systems and capacities to articulate policy/laws including setting up organizations mandated under new laws; institutional strengthening; defining procedures, including administrative grievance procedures; enhancing human resources, and installation of facilities and equipment.
  • Public knowledge and legal. empowerment through public awareness campaign and awareness raising about the opportunities available with civil society organizations under the access to Justice Development Fund.
  • Enhancing performance and accountability, including establishing the baseline and institutional arrangements for monitoring changes in efficiency and effectiveness of the performance of courts and police agencies: and clarifying and ensuring arrangements for accountability.
  • Policy impact and innovation including defining arrangements to ensure that the lessons of implementation of reforms are incorporated into revisions and refinements in policy and laws for justice reforms; and defining procedures for allocation of resources to innovative approaches (including for legal education and public-private partnerships).
  • Supporting further legal and policy reform including drafting of new contempt and defamation laws; development of a legal and policy framework for a revised comprehensive administrative grievance procedure; and legal policy reform work in other areas identified during implementation.

 

Corporate governance is the concept where private and public institutions, including laws, regulations, and accepted business practices govern the relationship between corporate managers and entrepreneurs on one hand and those who invest resources in corporations, on the other. Good corporate governance contributes to enhanced investment for growth and employment generation, competitiveness for global market, environmental and social responsibility, and to increase efficiency of public sector agencies.

Since its inception in 1999, the focus of the regulatory measures taken by the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) h fostering investor confidence. The SECP has been particularly keen to encourage good corporate governance to ensure transparency and accountability in the corporate sector and safeguard the interests of all stakeholders, especially the minority shareholders. In 2002, the first Code of Corporate Governance for Pakistan was issued by the SECP. It was subsequently incorporated in the listing regulations of the three Stock Exchanges and is now applicable to all public listed companies. Reforms in governance administration, public financial sector, capacity building and civil services, E-Governance, and data and statistics below.

 

In the past, Pakistan had pursued policies of protection and resource mobilization through higher tax and tariff rates. However, due to the success of worldwide tax reforms, the direction of tax policy and administration in the country also changed from narrow to a liberal approach. Taxes are now being used as an effective tool to boost production, create demand, promote investment, and encourage imports of capital and manufactured goods.. Pakistan’s tax effort is much below when compared with its regional neighbors. The Central Board of Revenue (CBR) has accordingly initiated a reform agenda to enhance its revenue effort and service standards. Salient features of this initiative include the following:

  1. Achieve financial and administrative autonomy.
  2. Restructure the CBR along functional lines and develop a well-trained and motivated workforce to develop and manage a modern, efficient revenue administration.
  3. Increase voluntary compliance with the tax law through the application of a concerted taxpayer education and facilitation programme and the re-engineering of business processes.
  4. Design and deliver fair, responsible and effective enforcement mechanisms in a way that directly responds to changes in the environment.
  5. Develop effective working relationships with taxpayers and other government departments that contribute to increased compliance and improved service.
  6. Increase the revenue net and collection and eliminate revenue leakage.
  7. Enhance staff productivity, efficiency, and satisfaction through extensive training programmes and enhanced salary structure.

 

The financial reporting and accounting system in Pakistan had several shortcomings. It did not provide timely, accurate, comprehensive and reliable information for decision making and policy formulation purposes. It lacked fiscal and financial accountability due to lack of meaningful accounts and due to noncompliance with international best practices. There was also no segregation between audit and accounts departments.

A reform programme is being implemented to separate audit and account functions, provide effective accounting and reporting system in line with the international best practices, strengthen financial management practices and increase the impact of development programmes, provide basis for enhancing public sector accountability through financial monitoring and control, and produce timely and reliable information for decision making and policy formulation. The focus of these reforms relates to four areas of concern: financial and budgeting system; auditing; human resource management and change management; and training.

Poor public management stems in part from low levels of human resource development and weak institutions. There is a need for a major effort to be envisaged in the area of the public capacity building to produce a competent, accessible and motivated civil service which is transparent, accountable and responsive to the changing socio-economic needs of the people, particularly the poor. To achieve this objective, a five-year programme has been launched during 2004-05. The programme includes short-term, medium-term, and long-term training programmes (Executive Development Programme; Professional Development Programme and the establishment of the National School of Public Policy, respectively) for the civil servants. The objective is to produce a civil service which is sensitized to the needs of people, responsive to the demands of changing the socio-economic environment, well trained for innovative decision making and policy formulation, geared towards the development of strategic and tactical vision in specialized fields, and prepared to face the future challenges.

The government plans to establish a National Executive Service for economic ministries and divisions, social sector ministries and organizations, provincial and district governments, and regulatory ministries and organizations, The issues being addressed include compensation, linking compensation with responsibility and performance, review in pay scales, and reforms in the area of performance evaluation.

Electronic – governance (e-governance) is fast emerging as an important tool for achieving good governance especially with regard to improving efficiency, transparency and making interface with government user-friendly. So far the emphasis has been on providing connectivity, networking, technology up-gradation, selective delivery systems for information and services and a package of software solutions. It is proposed to focus on the re-engineering of procedures and rules which are in fact the core of any effective programme of E-governance. There is the need for a focused vision about the objective of introducing Egovernance. The range and standards of delivery to be achieved within well-defined time frames will need to be clearly failed down. Within the ambit of Governance, it is necessary to develop government to government, government to citizens and government to business functionalities. One of the major initiatives envisaged in the IT sector is to take IT to the masses.

It is recognized that the availability, quality, and accessibility of data in Pakistan needs to be improved to meet needs for planning and monitoring, particularly, in the context of the country’s rapidly growing economy. Better data is needed to provide the basis to develop well-informed policies, which facilitate broad-based equitable growth and poverty reduction. The analysis has indicated the following areas need to be improved:

  • Strengthening the Statistics Division, which is responsible for collecting, disseminating, and coordinating data in the country.
  • Addressing key gaps, including the quality and coverage of management information systems, gender monitoring and analysis, and district and subdistrict data.
  • Improving the timeliness of dissemination and presentation of statistical data.
  • Improving and institutionalizing the monitoring system on key indicators.
  • Harmonization and integration between the different sources of data on key indicators.

The following important deficiencies are proposed to be addressed:

  • The scope and quality of the provincial and district data administration systems, particularly for education, health and water, and health management system are planned to be improved with timely national level dissemination. Following devolution, the main responsibility for data collection and quality for water and sanitation fails under the district and the province and there is no administrative system that reports on the overall number, quality, and location of sanitation and water utilities. Strengthening these systems would require significant commitment and resources.
  • There is no vital registration system in Pakistan and the only comprehensive mortality data correctly available are from surveys. It is planned to improve disease surveillance, which could include a new sample-based vital registration system.
  • Currently, there is a lack of data for gender analysis. This will be corrected so that a full assessment of gender disparities could be carried out.
  • There is a lack of district-based social statistics on outputs and outcomes. Most social sector surveys are the only representative at the federal and provincial level despite the main responsibilities for decision-making now being with the district. A broader statistical system will be developed to meet the new demands of devolution. The other gaps such as labor/employment data; data for a more in-depth analysis of the nature of poverty across the country and over time; data on the informal economy, and environmental data would also be addressed.

The following measures are planned to improve timeliness and dissemination.

  • A user-friendly, reliable, comprehensive and regularly updated central database would be developed for the core MTDF, MDG and PRSP indicators that are widely recognized and used.
  • A review of statistical practices would be conducted in consultation with users, covering the presentation of statistics, availability of source and methodology information, and release procedures.

 

The timeliness is reliant on the general capacity, resources, and technology of monitoring and evaluation systems. A significant improvement would come from increasing the use of new information and communication technologies to speed up data collection and processing and allocating more resources for processing, editing, and disseminating data.

There is conclusive evidence that systematic corruption exacts a heavy price from development activities by reducing investment, increasing capital costs, and increasing the time business executives need to spend negotiating. with government officials. The Government has set up the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) which has been active in the fight against corruption. Several initiatives can assist in making progress against corruption. This includes:

  • the public sector management agenda, consisting of actions to make markets competitive and supporting improvements in public administration
  • the development of proper institutional and legal frameworks
  • strengthening audit functions to improve resource allocation while making embezzlement more easily detected
  • procurement reforms, while reducing costs will make fraud more difficult to perpetrate
  • civil service reforms, while improving procedures for recruitment and promotion will build capacity and help reduce patronage and nepotism
  • streamlining regulations will improve public management while reducing opportunities for corruption.

Past experience has shown that many development projects and programmes, having laudable objectives, have failed to deliver the results because of the inadequacies in design and implementation. Time and cost overruns have been substantial and widespread in public sector infrastructure and investment projects. In some areas benefits intended to be delivered to the people through development, programmes have not fully reached the beneficiaries due to weakness in administrative planning and delivery mechanism.

In the past, sustainability of the assets created has received much less attention in the planning process. This is the primary reason for the deteriorating conditions of assets and low capacity utilization. On the other hand, there has been a trend towards acquiring capital assets in increasing quantities, without regard to sustainability aspects. As a result, cost and time over-runs are inevitable as limited available funds are thinly spread across a large number of projects. Other issues include lack of accountability of the implementing agencies, inadequate use of participatory approaches in the design and implementation of programmes, lack of transparency in the operation of schemes, and inadequacy of monitoring mechanisms. This indicates the need for institutional reforms, capacity building, and involvement of the people and grassroots level non-government agencies in the formulation and implementation of development projects and programmes.

The implementation of projects improves considerably if the projects are well-designed, screened comprehensively during the appraisal and approved the process, and focus on monitoring and evaluation activities are undertaken. The government should focus on the following areas:

  • Improving the quality of projects at entry through proper feasibility studies for all projects, incorporation of lessons learned from the evaluation of earlier projects, capacity building, and interagency coordination.
  • Ensuring adequate and timely release of funds.
  • Reviewing procedures for submission, examination, and approval of projects
  • Enhancing capacity for contract management, including transparency in contract documents, greater professionalism and adequate delegation of authority
  • Simplification of procedures for the acquisition of land.
  • Preparing a ready reference of financial control and regulation.
  • Project facilitation at preparation and design stage by the Planning Division, including online services.

Effective monitoring and evaluation (M&E) system are essential to managing for development outcomes. Such a system helps realign resources in line with the priorities, helps development of specific programmes and activities in line with the overall government objectives, helps government make explicit choices and trade-offs between objectives and policy options, by assessing the effectiveness and costs of the various choices; builds capacity to report on outcomes, and enables managers to make decisions based on performance to improve the impact of the programmes.

There are several issues related to enhancing effective monitoring and evaluation of development projects and programmes in the country. First, the capacity at the federal and provincial level for effective M&E is weak. At the federal level, the Projects Wing of the Planning and Development Division is responsible for M&E of the PSDP. At the provincial level, this responsibility lies . with the Planning and Development Departments (P&DDs). They are constrained by limited staff and expertise, funds for field monitoring activities, inadequate information technology and the lack of a broader enabling environment for effective M&E. Second, line ministries and departments responsible for project monitoring have limited capacity. Their monitoring is focused on physical progress, outputs, funds releases and disbursements. At the federal level, structural impediments include the absence of monitoring structures and uncertainty of roles and responsibilities pertaining to M&E. Following devolution, there is also a need to provide more clarity on the roles and responsibilities of provinces and districts on M&E activities. Third, the project documents do not have adequate information on specific and measurable indicators to facilitate M&E. The focus is on inputs and outputs rather than outcomes. Problems with funds flow and lack of trained M&E manpower in a project implementing units hinder effective M&E at the project level. Finally, information flows are weak, which do not link data with policy makers, planners, and other stakeholders.

It is suggested that M&E activities must be planned to strengthened around the following four priority areas.

  • Planning Commission to put in place a comprehensive programme to strengthen portfolio M&E ensuring that all large ongoing PSDP projects contain specific and measurable indicators; contain outcome baseline data; use and report M&E information and data on a regular basis, and have adequate resources allocated in projects for M&E.
  • Empowering line ministries at the federal level and line departments at the provincial level for individual project monitoring.
  • Overcome weaknesses in the project and programme design and implementation by strengthening PC-I to PC-V documents, making these more outcomes focused.
  • Strengthen the capacity of Planning Commission (Projects Wing), Provincial P&DDs, and M&E Cells of line ministries on M&E including expanding the use of monitoring software, training staff involved in M&E at the federal, provincial and local level; and standardizing project documents.

It seems Pakistan’s intellectual cum technocrat society had taken all the responsibility of preaching the so-called Good Governance in such a way that even governing principles is considered unaware & intolerable on that features. Almost every day the structure of Good Governance go under dissection, some of the salient features of good governance however are mended back to its original place but many remain unattended. Although every person of aesthetic bourgeois is well aware about what the terminology “Good Governance” contains with in itself, but the way it is portrayed will either destroy the genesis of Governance and if not, than would definitely change the entire constitution of Governing principles according to personal agenda.

Human Rights associates once stated in its report that, “Democracy is based on two core principles; Participation and accountability.” Therefore in the light of above observation when there is less or absolutely no democratic prevalence in the nation that means there is leakages or loopholes in governance as well. So the scientific formula is no democracy no governance. Now cogitates yourself if Pakistan is working under independent unchained democratic setup than governance is definitely in its good position but what about the criteria when democracy is not restored in its original position yet governing features are executed and implemented in almost every sphere of politics and economy?

Unfortunately, Pakistan’s about than six decades of history is deprived of both the expeditious execution of accountability and the participation of the people’s mandate by their chosen representatives even after the due share of both the military dictatorship and democratically elected govt. Somehow both of these golden rules of democracy are enjoying complete absentia in Pakistan.

The essay comes to the conclusion that while the poor governance is an impediment to the implementation of pro-poor policies, the poverty worsens the governance structure even more. The essay points out a strategy for economic revival and pro-poor policies which would hopefully create a quick and visible impact on employment, prices of essential commodities and eradication of poverty. To remove alienation and apathy and to ensure participation, poverty eradication programme has been proposed to be started at the ground level so that the general mass of population can see basic facilities being improved and provided at the local level. When the children in the schools start receiving better facilities, food support and health care, it affects every household. Reforms of police and introduction of the jury system and other judicial reforms will prevent police excesses and ensure transparency and participation. The reforms of the tax structure and reduced cost of living for the very poor through proposed measures will help to clear out the problems of the masses. Broad administrative reforms will remove the popular apprehensions about the institutionalized politicization and apprehensions about political manipulation of the Devolution Plan. These reforms will have to be forcefully implemented and seen to be meant for creation of neutral, non-political and poor-oriented non-elitist arrangement.

Concrete actions recommended improving governance are the need of the hour. The present federal government functions should be re-examined. Clear delineation of provincial and Local Government responsibilities should be made. The promulgation of Freedom of Information Act may be considered to make available to the general public the record relating to financial transactions of the Government at any level. The Judicial system should be recast and minor disputes should be handled by a strengthened conciliation counts system at the Local Council level. Minor crimes should be given to the lower courts with a jury system. Jury system may also be introduced in a modified form for serious crimes. Subordinate judicial system may be strengthened by the allocation of additional funds and an improvement in their recruitment system. Time-bound disposal system for various civil and criminal disputes should be introduced at all levels. All recruitments above Grade-11 must be entrusted to the FPSC again and an in-service examination system should be introduced. On the same lines, promotion to the senior positions in Government should be assigned to the independent forum, Appointments and transfers may continue to remain with the Government. This arrangement should be given constitutional protection. Selection procedure and system for All Pakistan Services and Federal Services should be separated. In the Federal Services, Economic Services and other Services would also be separated. Educational institutions should be run by their own schools or colleges Boards representing the parents of the students.

The governance activities should be mainstreamed in the development process. First, the process of decentralization and devolution must be strengthened to enhance the delivery of critical municipal services. Second, participatory approaches and governance considerations should be strengthened in the design and implementation of policies, programmes, and projects, with capacity building of agencies involved. Third, the systemic problems that undermine the efficiency of legal, judicial and law enforcement institutions should be addressed. Fourth, corporate governance and public-private interface issues should be addressed to protect identified public interests while minimizing private transaction costs. Fifth, several areas of public sector management must be addressed, including

  1. streamlining revenue administration;
  2. strengthening public financial administration;
  3. streamlining E-Governance;
  4. public sector capacity building and civil service reforms, covering professionalization of civil services and qualitative improvements through continuous training and skill upgradation
  5. enhancing the quality and coverage of data and statistics

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It is an educational blog and intended to serve as complete and self-contained work on essays, paragraph, speeches, articles, history, letters, stories, quotes.

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