PILLAR III:: GOVERNANCE, INSTITUTIONAL REFORM AND MODERNIZATION OF THE PUBLIC SECTOR
Ministry of Planning, Development & Reform, Government of Pakistan 14 Place in the top 50th percentile for Political Stability (from bottom 1 percentile), No Violence/Terrorism (from bottom 1 percentile), and Control of Corruption (from bottom 13th percentile) as measured by the World Bank's Worldwide Governance Indicators.
Democratic Governance is good governance, containing simplicity of procedures for the public, responsibility of public officials, transparency of the government, individual freedom, collective action, independence of legal system from all sorts of influences and pressures, healthy competition and elimination of corruption surcharge. Democratic governance is established through Institutional Reform which is a process through which state institutions are reviewed and restructured to achieve rule of law, accountability and comfort to the public in their day to day affairs. Institutional reform takes many types of measures including restructuring, screening, creating supervisory bodies, improving legal frameworks, disarmament and reintegration, education and training, and changes in morals and behaviour.
Governance is the central pivot which underpins realization of key national objectives, and is a cross cutting theme which simultaneously runs across the other six pillars of the vision. Pakistan Vision 2025 affords special consideration to quality of democratic governance and economic management in the country. A responsive, inclusive, transparent and accountable system of governance is envisaged through adoption of a holistic approach – from policy to strategy to implementation and delivery, encompassing all administrative levels – federal and provincial.
New Governance Paradigm
The 18th Amendment, while providing more autonomy to the provinces, requires a fresh approach to planning and implementation. A new paradigm of participatory and collaborative planning ministries/divisions, provinces, special areas (FATA, PATA, Gilgat-Baltistan and Azad Jammu & Kashmir), the private sector, academia, civil society and the Diaspora. In order to realize Pakistan Vision 2025 effectively, there is consequently a need for a well-functioning and strong federation with a well-defined coordination mechanism among federating units. The federation is to be strengthened by promoting inter-provincial and federal-provincial communication and co-ordination so that national and provincial priorities are aligned, and the federal and provincial governments work together to reach common goals. The Ministry of Planning, Development & Reforms will play the role of facilitator and integrator in the areas of economic policy and reforms in the post-devolution scenario. Frequency of dialogue between the provinces and the federal government will be increased. Forums such as the National Economic Council, Common of Council Interests and the Ministry for Inter-provincial co-ordination and Inter-province Ministers Committees will be leveraged to improve coordination and communication between the provinces and the Centre. At the same time, increased provincial autonomy is to be coupled with increased responsibility of the provinces. A new fiscal relationship framework will be devised regarding implementation of the national plans.
At the national level a 'cascade effect' is being sought, where all downstream engagement stems from compliance with constitutional and democratic norms/processes and unequivocal commitment to the rule of law. Securing writ of the state and strengthening of capacity of institutions, as well as their autonomy and independence will be at the heart of this dispensation. The focus will be on re-orienting and repositioning of institutions to not only reduce the high transaction cost ordinary individuals incur in interacting with such institutions and agencies, but also eliminate the trust deficit and restore their credibility, in the eyes of the people. Pakistan Vision 2025 seeks a new compact with the people of Pakistan to redefine the very nature of state-citizen relationship, and put it on a new footing which is underpinned by a comprehensive and fully inclusive Citizen's Charter.
Parliamentary / Standing Committees
It is absolutely vital that Parliamentarians/ Standing Committees assert their legitimate place in the decision-making process at both provincial and national levels. The Parliament and Standing Committees are pivotal to the entire architecture of democratic governance and need to be strengthened virtually everywhere in the world. They need to be granted greater oversight capacities and legislative authority. Stronger Parliaments will play a central role in the implementation of the future vision/ development goals.
Civil Service Reforms
To complement these initiatives, on the human resources dimension of the new paradigm, a complete overhaul of the civil services will be mounted. A system of performance evaluation of public servants based on work performed rather than subjective evaluation will be practiced. A redefinition of positions and designations with professional qualification, and a career track with specialization for government officers will be introduced which will lead to professionalism in each field of work. An official will be expected to work towards specific deliverables which will be formulated not so much in input-output terms as in outcomes-impact terms. In the past performance measurement and incentives led to the tendency of administrations taking central stage of power and control. The priority, henceforth, would be on militating against moral hazard and perverse incentive structures which they entail.
In addition to introducing outcomes based performance evaluation across government, focus will also be given to reform in the education and training of civil service officers through a dedicated center of excellence, the National University of Public Policy and Administration (NUPPA). Reforms in the training curriculum and methodology at the various public official training institutes will mirror changes in government functioning so that public officials are adequately prepared for a FAST government that emphasizes outcomes i.e. delivery of services.
A restructuring of approval processes and procedures will be taken in hand to cut red tape and decisively upgrade the quality of decision making at all echelons. The aim, through an ambitious and transformational process, is to bring about qualitative change in ethos and mind sets – to turn government officials into public servants in the true sense of the word.
Judicial System Reforms
The criminal justice system in Pakistan is in urgent need of reform. Such reform would address critical aspects such as access, speed, cost and fairness in dispensation of justice, while remaining within the confines of due process as enunciated in the constitution. Similarly the civil code and statutes will be revisited and reviewed, especially with respect their role in ensuring competition, providing a level playing field and deterring collusive or rent seeking behaviour.
Reforms will be accelerated in the provinces to create smart and community oriented Police, well equipped to fight crime. The Police force is a key agency that ensures the rule of law, which is the bedrock of democracy and development. Accordingly, capacity building in the police has been accepted as a legitimate activity for vision funding. Over the years, increasing politicization and corruption, overstretched duty hours and low policing intensity have resulted in a decline in police credibility. Under the Vision 2025, the Government intends to re-establish the rule of law and improve public perception through effective delivery of public safety services. Special attention will be given to enhance the capacity of police, prosecution and public defenders' system. A new security policy will be prepared to tackle the issue of terrorism. Than a culture will be eliminated and Citizen Police liaison system / local police system will be introduced. National and Provincial databases of criminals in coordination with NADRA will be established.
The main emphasis of the tax administration reform is on promoting voluntary tax compliance through an enhanced level of taxpayer's facilitation. In the long-run, these administrative reforms will also enable tax administrators to effectively tackle delinquent taxpayers through a system of audit and penalties. The already initiated reform agenda of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to enhance its revenue collection effort and service standards will be completed under Vision 2025. This will enhance revenue collection through a broad-based tax system by using IT data, gradually reducing tax exemptions, simplifying rules, accountability, transparency, integrity, publication of the annual tax directory and providing transparent and high quality tax services. Focus will be on broadening the tax net and eliminating corruption from the FBR.
One of the major challenges in improving governance is to act against corruption, which is widely seen as having seeped into the administrative fabric. Evidence is mounting 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. Several initiatives will be undertaken in accordance with the 18th constitutional amendment to curb corruption. These include (i) Preparation and implementation of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy (ii) Establishment of an autonomous (Financially & administratively) National Accountability Commission, (iii) Strengthening governance institution through enhancement capacity and integrity (iv) Public sector management agenda, consisting of actions to make markets competitive and supporting improvements in public administration; (v) The development of proper institutional and legal frameworks; (vi) Strengthening audit functions to improve resource allocation while making embezzlement more easily detected; (vii) Procurement reforms, while reducing transaction costs making fraud more difficult to perpetrate; (viii) Civil service reforms, while improving procedures for recruitment and promotion that build capacity and help reduce patronage and nepotism; (ix) Freedom of information through constitutional provision; (x) Review/ updating of existing law against Cyber Crime and IPR violation (xi) Training of investigation officers in the field of serious white crimes including banking and internet frauds, cyber offences, money laundering, terrorist financing (xii) Enforcement and streamlining regulations that improve public management and introduction of preventive tools/a code of conduct which reduces opportunities for corruption (xiii) Enhancing public awareness on good governance and corruption.
High Performance & FAST Government – Governance for the Future
As a core component of Pakistan Vision 2025, a well-articulated strategy of third generation reforms will be introduced, and put into effect with respect to the public sector. It will rest on the platforms of i) Reoriented and repositioned human resources ii) Deployment of new technologies. iii) Restructuring and re-engineering of institutions. Learning from international best practice, the focus would be on a government which is responsive to the rapidly evolving needs and requirements of an increasingly enabled and connected citizenry in a digital world. This means a quantum leap in the way their expectations are managed. Countries are realizing that technologies (and newer skill sets) can act as effective vehicles for transforming government work processes, enhancing provision of public services and enabling higher productivity and output. Policy formulation, development, design, deployment and delivery, at the end user level, would be achieved through adoption of the High Performance and FAST (Flat, Agile, Streamlined and Tech-enabled) model of governance. Government will be flatter, meaning a smaller distance, or fewer layers, between governments at all levels and the public. This will be done with the help of social media, the internet as well as citizen feedback via mobile telecommunications. Government will be agile so that it can adapt quickly, appropriately 'organizing' and 'deorganizing' in response to changing environments, circumstances and issues. Policy planning and the top decision makers will be well informed, with access to structured real-time data that will be presented on dash boards so that policies and decisions are informed with relevant and up-to-date information. Government will be streamlined through a gradual scaling down of the bureaucratic machinery, focusing on a small highly trained workforce that possesses a diverse range of skill sets and a high level of analytical capacity.
Finally, government will be tech-savvy – not only having the adequate ICT infrastructure but also the human capital that can effectively use such technology. E-governance will bring transparency and efficiency in bureaucratic processes as well as accountability through engaged citizen feedback.
Electronic–governance is fast emerging as an important tool for achieving good governance particularly with regards to improving efficiency, transparency and making the interface with the 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. Vision 2025 will focus on the re-engineering of procedures and rules, which are the core of any effective programme of E-governance. Issues of sustainability, interactivity and standardization of E-governance activities will also be addressed. Within the ambit of E-governance, government to government, government to citizens and government to business functionalities will be developed. Furthermore, one of the major initiatives envisaged in the IT sector is to increase the access of citizens to IT tools and to promote greater connectivity. Capacity development within the public sector will also be carried out to ensure that there is greater familiarity with electronic procedures within the government quarters.
Pakistan has undergone a historic democratic transition of government, in the wake of which citizens are becoming more aware of their rights and more inclined to hold their leaders accountable. "Closed" governance cannot deliver quality services reliably to citizens. Thus an important requirement for transforming governments for the future to ensure transparency and accountability through citizen feedback is by the adoption of open government and open data. This involves making available to the public, through the World Wide Web, data relating to public service delivery and socio-economic development so that citizen feedback is informed and government processes are made transparent to keep a check on corruption. Moving to an open government platform requires on the one hand, enforcement of the Right to Information Act, but also a strong ICT infrastructure that can handle transfer and sharing of exorbitant amounts of data as well as strong cyber-security measures to protect data relating to National Security. Some of the foundations are already in place, such as the Right to Information Act.
The Government of Pakistan is committed to making government open, transparent, accountable, and responsive to citizens. As a first step the tax directory of Parliamentarians and tax payers has been published. Reform of the taxation system through technology enablement shall be prioritized to mobilize revenue and cut leakages in the tax system. Citizen Feedback systems have been introduced which leverage the high mobile phone penetration amongst the general public. Other initiatives will include enforcement of the Right to Information Act, web placement of major government contracts for public scrutiny, and advisory committees in government with representation from private sector, academia, and civil society.