Showing posts from July, 2013

Monetization: How Valuable is Your Bureaucracy?

How Valuable is Your Bureaucracy?
For decades now the issue monetization of perks has been on the table. No action has been taken because the powerful secretaries who monopolize access to perks block the reform and because our austerity mindset keeps us from financing a reform that accelerates growth and employment. This reform is most necessary in housing because the current distribution is iniquitous and because its holding back economic development and employment. Let us see how!
Recall government-owned accommodation such as houses, bungalows or apartments located in the posh areas of metropolitan centers. The location and addresses themselves are prestigious and symbolizing power. What is less well known is that not all civil servants get these houses. Of the 447155 civil servants, 8%have the privilege of getting government-owned accommodation such as houses, bungalows or apartments located in the posh areas of metropolitan centers; 20% are living in government hired ac…

Governance 1: Our Meeting Culture Must Change

Governance 1
Our Meeting Culture Must Change

Every day, newspapers show a picture of some meeting or the other. When you call a minister, the somber message "she is in a meeting" sounds very grave and responsible. And if it is the cabinet or the ECC, it sounds even more grave and serious. Indeed the fate of the country is decided in those meetings. What happens in those meetings? How seriously do our officials take those meetings? How well prepared are they? What is the quality of those discussions?
First, the picture in the papers. It is orchestrated in the ministry of information and us taken in the first few minutes contrived to show leaders hard at work. Why anybody would take it seriously, I do not know.
But that is not of interest. What is more interesting is the preparation for the meeting, who participates, why meetings are held, and what happens at it. Much governance improvement could happen if we can change our meeting culture.
Before we see what happens in Pakistan…

Austerity Pakistan 4: What is Pakistan's fiscal problem

Austerity Pakistan 4
What is Pakistan's fiscal problem
Pakistan's provinces where much of the welfare and infrastructure lies are all running balanced budget as required by the constitution-thank the almighty.
The federal government has obligations to smaller regions that it administers such as the FATA, GB, AJK but these are not more even 1% of GDP. Much maligned defense is about 3% of GDP which given the war on terror which has killed 50,000 people and destroyed many cities may not be too large. Running of the federal government is only about 1.5 % of GDP. Debt service is the largest amount about 4% of GDP. All in all the federal government does not appear to be a huge spendthrift locked up in huge administrative and defense expenditures that cannot be reversed. Where then is the problem?
The federal deficit borders on about 8 to 9% of GDP. Our Revenue is only about 9% of GDP. Adding up the above mentioned items, our expenditure commitments are only about 9.5% of GDP. Our de…