The ICT's had been playing an effective role in
development of the public sector, by setting standards and policies
which were for the overall benefit of country. Over the years the
Secretariat and the Bureaus have extended technical, financial and
expert support for adoption and absorption of technologies by the
developing countries in changing their destiny. However, more concerted
efforts are needed to help them in new technological solutions in a much
shorter span of time so as to enable them to have more transparency in
The public sector in Pakistan is substantially struck
with corruption. Corruption in public sector either for investment or
procurement of goods and services are key manifestations of corruption.
Many governments and business leaders have recognized the high risk and
cost of bribery and extortion and seek ways to curb and eventually
eliminate corruption in transactions Proper employment of information
technologies for curbing public-sector corruption is definitely a
burning task to be dealt with if the contemporary technological
restructuring is not to bring disappointment and new corruption
opportunities. Although information technologies possess a real
transformative potential but their employment is not self-sufficient. It
must be complemented by other conditions conducive to the task at hand.
The employment of information technologies promotes anti-corruption
action and with the help of (private firms and non-governmental
organizations) to participate in the anti-corruption effort. This also
thwarts new corruption opportunities that could arise if
technology-enhanced control is concentrated in the hands of a individual
such as the hierarchically organized state bureaucracy.
Pakistan has not only embarked on the road of deep
political and economic transformations, but also entered the turbulent
age of global technological restructuring. The information revolution of
the 1990s has brought about profound changes in all social spheres. In
conjunction with the new opportunities and the new problems created by
the boom of information technologies in the public sector the
information technologies generated a revolution in thinking about the
future of the governance of public matters.
In the wake of global ICT's efforts and strategies
for sector liberalization, Pakistan took bold initiatives, Internet
connectivity has been extended to more than 900 cities and villages from
just about 29 cities in two years, mobile market is growing with 1.5
million subscribers per year and the fixed market is being opened to
competition from the year 2003. The Government of Pakistan is preparing
an investor friendly policy with necessary regulatory framework in place
to meet challenges that would be faced once licenses to new entrant are
issued. De-regulation policy would address all pre-requisites, which
make up a credible document. The ICT's should put in place strategies
that balance the information gap and create enough confidence in
developed world to curb the corruption in public sector. Corrupt public
administrators undermine the basic system of checks and balances that
operate in a free society.
The unexpectedly rapid development of the Internet
and the Internet-based technological devices is expected not only to
reorganize public administration, but also to make both the
public-sector officials and the executives more accountable to the
citizens. From this vantage point, the soft power of electronic media
should make the notoriously self-interested bureaucrats to finally
pursue the public interest properly. When applied in the field of
public-sector corruption such visions sometimes result in the so-called
'Panoptic vision'. This vision implies that due to the management
control made possible by the development of information technologies the
ultimate victory over public-sector corruption is a matter of several
forthcoming years. Although the new technological applications have a
genuine transformative potential in the field of curbing corruption,
their use must be accompanied by additional conditions if it is to
result in a tangible inhibition of corrupt activities. An important
condition for the successful employment of information technology
applications against corrupt activities is the active involvement and
participation of non-governmental heads interested in the quality and
the transparency of public-sector governance. The relatively homogeneous
and vulnerable to corrupt activities state hierarchies are being
challenged by the diversity of hierarchically organized interests
capitalizing on the new technological infrastructure. Such a
reorganization of public governance ultimately presses for the
restructuring of the state monopoly over public-governance control. The
link between the information technologies, the public sector
performance, and other stakeholders must be carefully considered if it
is to have a practical value to today's policy makers.
How to bring transparency in bureaucracy? Where the
chances of taking bribe exists? How to find out and eliminate those
opportunities of corruption? How to minimize the chances of bribery and
corruption for public sector procurement? What are major causes of
corruption in public sector? Establishing e-procurement? What things
should be considered while hiring public officers? What incentives
should be given to them not to be involved in corruption? Using media
for bringing awareness of the damaging effects of corruption? General
public access to information will help them to make decision with
consideration? Emphasize will be given to restructuring ICT's
infrastructure in the country. How to develop the E-government Concept?
Will E-government increase the opportunities for corruption or will it
help to eradicate the corruption?
It will be just the beginning that ICT's 's will be
used for corruption cure in Pakistan. And strong information and
Communication Technologies will help the government in an "image
building process. Despite the aforementioned developments, the
application of information technologies for curbing public-sector
corruption in the Pakistan has been relatively modest. Unlike the
preceding governments, current Government declared curbing corruption
one of their main objectives. The government is recently working with
the collaboration of Transparency International (TI), World Bank and
Federation International Federation of Consulting Engineers (FIDIC),
Asian Development Bank (ADB), and the Protocol Engineering Council (PEC)
on the plans for fighting corruption and launched various programs
intended to redress the cases of privatization, mismanagement and other.
Despite several "success stories" the
government is unable to mobilize wider social support for its
anti-corruption objectives and its campaign fading away without a major
social impact. Pakistan Government in cooperation with civil society
groups such as Transparency International, who, by lobbing for the
adoption of the law on the free access to public information,
contributed to the increasing accountability of public-sector officials.
The fight against corruption is and has been the declared goal of the
present Government as well as all the past four governments in Pakistan.
One can safely say that all the past governments were completely
corrupt, but it is the common perception that the present government's
declared intention to fight corruption seems relatively serious. It has
to some extent backed up its intentions with action in the form of the
National Accountability Bureau and simultaneously in its many reforms
that it is trying to implement within the different sectors of the
government. The fight against corruption has also been the intended goal
of the International Financial Institution's (IFI's) including World
Bank, the International Federation of Consulting Engineers (FIDIC-2001),
Asian Development (Bank ADB-2002) and the Protocol Engineering Council
(PEC-2001) and the Asian Development Bank which is evident in their
regular revision of their guidelines for selection and award of
procurement contracts. The regulatory bodies such as the International
Federation of Consulting Engineers (FIDIC), Pakistan Engineering Council
and the Planning Commission of Pakistan like the International Financial
Institution's (IFI's) and the Donor Agencies for many years continued to
stand by their guidelines in procurement procedures.
Most national governments swear by their procurement
procedures as being transparent and having the necessary checks and
balances. Then the question can be asked of all the above organizations.
Why is there still rampant corruption in procurement
contracts not only in the eastern but as well as the western world and
evidence that this corruption is ever increasing?
The above agencies whether governments, the IFI's,
the Donors or the Regulatory bodies at most times find it very hard to
accept the possibility that their procurement procedures are flawed.
Till recently the word corruption was a taboo seldom spoken openly and
it has taken a decade to shatter this taboo. Government should take
initiative for curbing corrupt activities from public sector with new
perspective and that is curbing corruption through ICT implementation.
The interrogations on detecting some of the causes of
corruption are supposed to cover following subjects:
• Relationships between public officials and
• Professionalism, competence and problems of training and improvement
of professional skill of the public of miscellaneous levels.
• A system of assigning, displacement, promotions and wages.
• Problems of the public sector official's practice.
• Public sector procedural formalities and official's responsibility
for not following them.
• Extent of use of ICT in public sector and how it can improve
transparency in system.
• Lack of Transparency in public sector systems.
Now the question arises that how the existing system
can be improved? Given the identified potential of IT to substantially
contribute to the anti-corruption drive and to social innovations
instrumental in curbing public-sector corruption, it is important to
explore the concrete impediments to a more extensive technology
wider social support for the anti-corruption objectives.
Providing access for a variety of interested heads.
Assisting robust communication channels among the involved heads.
RATE OF CORRUPTION IN PUBLIC SECTOR IN PAKISTAN
It is important to understand the extent of
corruption in various organizations in the country. According to general
public concept 81% of Government of Pakistan's organizations are
corrupt. And 61% private sector organizations are also deemed as
corrupt. General perceptions are that it is impossible for the private
sector organizations not to indulge in corrupt practices and survive in
Pakistan because of the corrupt practices of public organizations.
Pakistan has a Corruption perception index (CPI)
score of 2.6 out of 10 and Pakistan's rank was 77 among 102 during 2002.
Pakistan steadily improved from 2.3 to 2.6. It reveals that progress has
been made in the last decade in reducing opportunities for corruption
through policy and regulatory reforms. For Pakistan, Transparency
International's estimates of CPI have steadily improves from a low of
1.0 in 1996 to 2.53 in 1997, to 2.7 in ]998, to 2.2 in 1999, to 2.3 in
2001 and to 2.6 in 2003 (High CPI on scale of 1 to 10 means a lower
perception of corruption). Though encouraging in the sense that progress
has been made, low score also says there is a long way to go. This means
mechanism can be developed for opposing corruption using ICT, bringing
awareness in society and mass media control, to eliminate the loop-holes
in public sector, setting out priority areas to attack corruption,
understanding relationship between ICT's and development, establishing
electronic procurement to meet the new challenges of electronic
commerce, to use international experience in struggling with corruption.
Establishing E-Government that facilitates transparency, to faster
growth of ICT in public sector, to replace corruption elements with
computerized systems must be a major task of government.
Major tasks to be
achieved by implementation of ICT are:
In implementing ICT's the main focus should be on the
ability of information technologies to enhance the involvement of
diverse actors representing various social interests so as to
De-monopolize the anti-corruption effort; and
To enable various heads to obtain information about the activities of
Full automation of the processes thereby reducing human interventions
Repositioning of controls to where they are most effective without
obstructing business and trade.
Provisions of remote lodgement facilities (via a computer network), to
enable the public interact with the organization from their offices,
removed from face to face interactions.
Complete paperless and cashless processes.
of certain operations.
Electronic linkage of all the participating agencies in the system.
ICT'S SIGNIFICANCE TO PAKISTAN
ICT's are not just about technologies, they are more
about information transfer and communications. Introduction of ICT's in
public sector will affect the way in which the organization will
interact, asses; adapt and access vast amount of information at reduced
ICT's can reduce corruption by improving the
enforcement of rules, lessening the discretion of officials, and
increasing transparency. ICT's eliminates many opportunities for
corruption of those who do not understand the new technology fully.
ICT's — enable reforms that can yield many benefits, including lower
administrative costs, faster and more accurate response to requests and
queries. The ICT's will help organizations to increase production.
MERITS OF INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES
The government on its part will commit itself to
prevent extortion and the acceptance of bribes by its officials, and to
establish and follow transparent procurement rules. Major merits of
1. The public
sector transparency will be ideal with taking into account international
efforts on fighting corruption.
Mechanisms of interaction of non-governmental sector, business, state
and international organizations in fighting corruption will be
ICT's will not only give transparency to the procedures but at the same
time provide the necessary checks and balances. These are powerful
deterrents to bribery.
A transparent system with the help of ICT's will help to create a good
image in the minds of international investors.
Jobs will be generated in public sector.
ICT's fulfill management and accountability requirement in Pakistan .
opportunities and enterprise development.
national level government needs to be connected to the world with help
of Information Technology.
It not only affects public sector but external agencies and
communication around them.
The benefits can be seen beyond the targeted beneficiaries to consider
all the stakeholders.