Showing posts from August, 2013

Fix Governance Before It is Too Late

At a time when the country is fighting for survival, our leaders are begging for aid.

The crying need of the hour is governance reform. The country is gasping for breath because of poor governance. Some symptoms:

There is a huge law and order problem. Not only is terrorism on the rise, kidnapping and violence has increased.Qabza groups prey on property rights in collusion with the regulators and lawmakersResources continue to be misallocated in development projects because of corruption and mismanagement.Public service delivery is wasteful and inefficient.Energy is in short supply because of problems in power sector governanceWater is running out because the water sector continues to be poorly managedGovernment policies are capricious and poorly thought out, lacking coherence and continuity.
At the heart of all these issues (and I am sure readers and can add more) lies public sector management. All Pakistanis will denounce public sector management and wish for it to change. For years …

Return to Magistracy

Return to Magistracy
A Distracted Bureaucracy
In our adventures to find a viable political system, we have politicized the bureaucracy moving it away from its primary function—magistracy.
Politically weak governments attempt to buy legitimacy through the delivery of projects and giveaways. Almost as a bribe — repeated governments claim “I cannot give you freedom and liberty but I will build dams, roads and railways!” And “I cannot give you security but I will build education.” And even there the dictates of the system lead to more building not more public service.
Such agendas are supported by donors who too are in hurry to write those reports claiming “literacy has improved in my tenure”, “in my 3 years here, I have done three projects on clean water”, and “I financed a project for building a dam worth 20 billion.” Donors are dumping money on development projects to achieve these ephemeral goals for better economic development.

Donor project are a godsend for the civil service. …

Estimating the Footprint of the Government on the Economy

Estimating the Footprint of the Government on the Economy
The Planning Commission Framework for Economic Growth (FEG) established that the footprint of the government in the Pakistan economy was very large. Often people note that government expenditures as a percentage of GDP are only 22% and therefore the size of the government in the economy is not large. This line of argument is again used to establish a basis for arguing for increased taxation.
The FEG noted that the percentage of government expenditure in GDP was not the correct measure of the influence of government in the economy where the government is Still controls a large number of Public sector enterprises (in fact the largest companies listed on the stock exchange are largely owned and managed by the government). The government still engages in many market transactions often as a dominant player (eg. energy, construction commodities etc). An aggressive tax subsidy policy as well as tax expenditures (SROs) direct mark…

Radio Interview on Pakistan Economy