18 C
Lahore
Tuesday, January 31, 2023
Search
Generic filters
HomeOpinionService delivery aching for much-needed reform

Service delivery aching for much-needed reform

Unless we get out of this stale quagmire and hire managers who are tech savvy and settle every case there and then we can’t go ahead. Otherwise, from a clerk to a secretary, many hurdles would remain in the way. Commonly, in the existing system, only those tasks are done for which there are bribes, lobbying and or court interference

The archaic system Pakistan inherited from the colonial regime is so complex that everyone seems helpless when it comes to service delivery. It’s so patchy and tedious that no one strives to reform it, with efforts to renovate the existing mechanism proving futile.

As it suits the ruling elite, political and bureaucratic executives exploited it ruthlessly.

- Advertisement -

Bureaucracy has made it even more complicated because its entire livelihood is tied to it. Its support staff, the clerical spellers, have become ‘more officers’ than the real ones are. Tragically, the janitors or peons sitting outside officers’ rooms work more for those who pay them.

There is, however, no one in the chain of command that takes responsibility for public service. The officers mostly pass the buck from one to the other to avoid it.

When an administrative secretary appoints a corrupt officer to supervise a multi-billion foreign-funded project, he invites not only public wrath but donors as well. Ultimately, things go wrong. Anti-graft watchdogs, in addition, fail to grab the criminals; thus, transparency fades.

- Advertisement -

You can blame anyone for it. If the systems are simple and the solution to any problem is linked to a specific period or allowances of officers, this would resolve several public problems automatically.

IT has come a long way now but we are still prone to our colonial gubernatorial behaviour because we don’t want the system to improve.

We have attempted to fly an aircraft without planning, necessary data and relevant qualification, with a driver who has not yet hit the runway. When it comes to bureaucracy, it has nothing to do with anything other than what it needs, the facilities. In the last few years, we have observed that the perks have increased to such an extent that the economy of the country cannot bear it. Many public sectors, on their own, have increased as much as they wanted, burdening the public treasury. Hundreds of meetings are held every month, presentations are made on power points, and minutes of meetings are written, but the result is poor delivery.

Unless we get out of this stale quagmire and hire managers who are tech savvy and settle every case there and then we can’t go ahead. Otherwise, from a clerk to a secretary, many hurdles would remain in the way. Commonly, in the existing system, only those tasks are done for which there are bribes, lobbying and or court interference.

When an officer was spoken to in this regard, he said that unless you link incentives with service delivery, there can be no improvement. “There will always be turns and twists,” he remarked.

Punjab Information Technology Board was established to reduce the complexity of the issues and to simplify the problem-solving procedures, but we see that even after many years, the same obsolete scenario persisted. PITB is a classic example of public sector failure, inefficiency and organisational decay.

Remember that two wings are needed to fly, but we have since long been trying unsuccessfully to fly with only one.

Imran Khan, as the premiere, had announced linking the promotions of senior civil servants with service delivery. After he was unceremoniously ousted from power, all his arrangements proved temporary. The successor reversed his mottos.

The irony is that the senior bureaucrats at the helm of affairs are supported by corrupt politicians and vice versa.

When a senior officer who serves as federal secretary in grade 22 was interviewed in this regard, he said that the clerical staff and their unions, quota-based recruitment and, above all, permanent jobs are some of the evils that have plagued the system. In addition, we could not improve or strengthen our institutions. We wasted our resources and did not involve our citizens in the affairs of the state, resultantly; people have lost their confidence in the country.

Suggesting solutions, he said instead of hierarchies, there was a need to appoint managers to spot and solve the issue there and then. With each case, the principal accounting officer should determine where negligence was. There should be basic pay only, and all allowances, amenities and privileges must be linked to the service delivery. It will save billions of rupees for the cash-strapped economy. But who will bell the cat?

Advertisement

Top news

Related articles