GOOD GOVERNANCE

S.KAMAL HAYDER KAZMI,
(feedback@pgeconomist.com)
Research Analyst
, PAGE
Aug 20 - Sep 2, 2012

The Good Governance can be interpreted in various ways. One of the main interpretations would be the provision of good public services with transparent decision making and implementation of policy without corruption or mal-administration. In the past decade and a half, the notion of good governance as a necessary condition, or at very least, as providing an enabling environment, for sustainable development and poverty reduction has gained widespread currency, especially among international organizations and first world nations. Indeed, good governance has become conditionality for development assistance from donor agencies. Good governance is specified as one of the targets of the millennium development goals (MDGs), an agenda for reducing poverty and improving lives that world leaders agreed on at the millennium summit in September 2000.

Recently, Pakistan has marked its 65th Independence Day, at a time when the country is facing serious challenges, foremost of which is the violent extremism that has already claimed nearly 40,000 lives over the past eight years. Its war on terror has caused material damage to the Pakistani economy to the tune of about 70 billion US $. Pakistan of around 180 million populations, is still struggling to deal with complex internal and external challenges. Political instability in the country is still a major problem as opposition parties are demanding early elections. There is also a confrontation between the judiciary and the government, with the Supreme Court, for the first time in the country's history, disqualified an elected Prime Minister for contempt charges. And the new prime minister is also facing a similar predicament. Even during the first day of Ramadan in Pakistan, the militants carried out four attacks in the country's northwest and southwest, killing dozens of soldiers and civilians. The other key challenge Pakistan faces is to preserve its identity as a sovereign nation which has been stained by senseless attacks even in places of worship and crowded civilian places.

Corruption is the root cause of Pakistan's downfall right from day one, so much so that they are up on the ladder of corruption, the methodology of the customs, income tax, revenue and police department are well known to describe here and waste the time of the readers. Several international and domestic anticorruption bodies have said that the government has so far failed to effectively deal with this problem.

Pakistan has been changing and developing but its poverty is not declining. It is a matter of serious concern that there is no decline in poverty in Pakistan despite a growth in economic indicators and development. It becomes a great challenge to the rulers, legislators, politicians, policy makers and other concerned regulators in the country. Poverty is growing rapidly and offsetting the whole economic gainful which is a big dilemma.

Furthermore, it was estimated that in the rural areas of the country, the Gini coefficient had declined from 0.25 in 2004-05 to 0.24 in 2005-06 and again increased to 0.25 in the year 2007-08; whereas in urban areas, inequality increased from 0.32 in 2001-02 to 0.33 during the year 2004-05; and further increased to 0.34 during the year 2005-06. However, it registered a decline from 0.34 in 2005-06 to 0.32 for the year 2007-08. Importantly, urban income inequality increased faster than overall inequality during 2005-06.

The ratio of the highest to lowest quintile, which measures the gap between the rich and the poor, deteriorated from 4.15 in 2004-05 to 4.2 in 2005-06 at the national level, indicating a shifting of resources from poor to rich. However, the ratio declined to 4.0 during the year 2007-08.

On the other hand, the situation of education system in Pakistan has not been very encouraging due to poverty, unemployment, over-population and slow pace of economic development. Pakistan's education system must provide every young Pakistani with the skills, knowledge and qualifications to succeed in a rapidly changing world. The quality of existing learning environment was evident from the fact that a large number of schools were missing basic infrastructure facilities i.e. 32.7 per cent schools up to elementary level, 32 per cent were without boundary wall, 33.6 per cent without drinking water facility, 35.4 per cent without toilets and around 60 per cent schools were without electricity.

With a large population of 180 million and a rapidly developing economy, Pakistan's energy needs are potentially huge. The country, historically a net energy importer, is confronting serious imminent energy shortages as its economy and population grow while global fossil fuel prices continue their upwards spiral. It was estimated that many power plants belonging to private companies have stopped working as PSO has failed to provide fuel to them. Large-scale protests against prolonged loadshedding gained momentum in the country as scores of people took to streets and destroyed public property. The Power outages, as long as 20 hours, were recorded in Faisalabad and Gujranwala. While in other areas of the country, protestors burn tyres and raise slogans against the policy makers.

The government had released Rs 7 billion to IPPs that would improve the electricity supply. The government had given more than Rs 1000 billion subsidy to the power sector over the last four years, adding that the Power Distribution Companies (DISCOs) were unable to collect Rs 90 billion from consumers during the last fiscal year.

CONCLUSION

No doubt, the government is responsible to bring improvement in all the affairs of the area so that the people could find better opportunities for the solution of their problems. Rather than playing politics, national leadership of Pakistan should focus more on the real issues of the people of Pakistan.