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PILDAT Holds Roundtable Discussion on Measuring the Quality of Governance

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ISLAMABAD:(APS)April 19,2016- PILDAT held a Roundtable Discussion on ‘Measuring the Quality of Governance’ to discuss the recent experiences of its Governance Assessment of the Federal and Provincial Governments 2014-2015. Representatives from the Federal and Provincial Governments provided their recommendations to PILDAT for improving the framework and highlighted the shortcomings in data collection they themselves face that become an impediment to accurately monitor performance.

In addition, a number of Governance experts were also present as discussants and provided input to PILDAT, in particular, stressed upon the inclusion of Judicial Efficiency to the Governance Assessment framework.

The Speakers included Dr. Ijaz Munir, ASPM, Federal Government of Pakistan, Mr. Zulfiqar Durrani, Secretary (Planning), Planning and Development Department, Government of Balochistan, Mr. Shehryar Gul, Deputy Coordinator, Performance Management and Reforms Unit (PMRU), Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Mr. Khalid Mehmood Siddiqi, Senior Chief (Physical Planning and Housing), Planning and Development Department, Government of Sindh. The representative from the Punjab Government was unable to attend the session therefore Dr. Ijaz Munir discussed Governance in the Punjab on their behalf.

Dr. Ijaz Munir while addressing potential gaps in PILDAT’s assessment, said that while it is important to measure performance against set targets, it is also important to study newly started and ongoing projects. Furthermore, while PILDAT assesses Governance based on performance in different sectors, the true essence of the job that ministries are performing needs to be captured in the assessment.

Mr. Zulfiqar Durrani provided his input on how PILDAT’s ongoing assessment could further be refined. He argued that think-tanks in Lahore and Islamabad may not be necessarily able to acquire credible data from a Province as remote as Balochistan. PILDAT must have a team present in Quetta to measure Governance accurately in Balochistan. He believed that main challenge for the country is lack of credible data. It is highly unfortunate that the census has not been held for twenty years in Pakistan. It is also crucial to include prosecution and judiciary in the Governance framework used by PILDAT. PILDAT may also develop a mechanism whereby the level of equity in the country can be measured and assessed, with attention on marginalization of certain socio-economic groups.

Mr. Shehryar Gul represented the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa at the Roundtable Discussion. Mr. Gul shared a presentation on how the PMRU measures performance and implementation in the KP Government. The PMRU is conducting performance audits at the District and Provincial levels. A Key Performance Indicator (KPI)-based monitoring system covers 32 Provincial departments through 700 KPIs. Geographic Information System (GIS) data is also used for cross-sectional analysis. Data is collected on a monthly basis and a final presentation is given every quarter to the Chief Secretary. The Districts are rated and analysed on the basis of this data and the processed information is made available online for citizens. The KP Government has created a Citizens Portal, which is also available as an Android application. Similarly, citizens can now issue complaints through the Portal. Mr. Gul believed that engagement with citizens and transparency are indispensable to the performance of any Government.

Mr. Khalid Mahmood Siddiqui represented the Government of Sindh. Mr. Siddiqui believed that data collection strategies could be further simplified by PILDAT. He recommended that PILDAT might send one data collector to each Province to interact with all responsible departments. However he agreed with fellow speakers that there are major limitations at the Provincial level on the availability and compilation of data. The representative of the Sindh Government suggested possible additions to PILDAT’s framework, including Judicial Efficiency and Accountability, Revenue Generation, Regional Equity, streamlining Sustainable Development Goals and Human Rights, and Road Infrastructure.

The discussants at the Roundtable felt that PILDAT’s Governance Assessment is a useful exercise that highlights many areas and challenges of Governance that are otherwise not assessed. However, a number of aspects remain missing from PILDAT’s framework. Dr. Gulfaraz Ahmed, Former Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources, believed that one such area is the state of affairs at the grassroots level: have new policies brought any sort of relief to citizens? Discussants were also of the view that PILDAT’s framework, though comprehensive, should have different weightage for different parameters. It was overwhelmingly felt that the judicial and prosecution system should be assessed as part of PILDAT’s framework.

Mr. Ahmed Bilal Mehboob, President, PILDAT, in his opening remarks, presented the methodology used in PILDAT’s Governance Assessment, which for the Federal Government is based on improvement and decline in performance indicators in 2014-2015 from 2013-2014. Alternatively, the performance of the four Provinces is measured through improvement or decline from 2013-2014 to 2014-2015, scored relative to each other.

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