Tuesday September 06, 2016
NFC Award and Governance Issues
It is indeed good news. The Chief Ministers of four provinces of Pakistan along with Finance Minister Shaukat Tareen have finally reached to NFC award formula which will satisfy all federating units of Pakistan.
It is also good news that Punjab has shown grace and agreed to play the rightful role in the development of other units of Pakistan.
NFC award formula was a major concern for all units of the federation for a long time, the agreement on the formula among Chief Ministers and Federal government is indeed a step forward and a major achievement. We must recognize it has only become possible because of the political set-up.
Within next few years, we will see the real impact of this NFC award on all units of federation.
If transfer of major portion of resources improves the conditions in all provinces then we expect the federal govt. will take further steps to transfer more resources to the federating units and let them handle their affairs independent of Islamabad.
It makes financial sense the provinces control taxation such as sales tax and spend them to build and strengthen their infra structure.
According to UNO surveys Pakistanís population is exploding at very fast rate. If it keeps growing at the current rate, Pakistan will become population-wise the fourth largest country in the world by 2050 only trailing after China, India and USA.
Pakistanís many current problems are the net result of fast growth of population. The institutions did not grow with the speed of growing population to accommodate the needs of the new members of the Pakistani society. Regardless of staggering growth in population, the Services Sector almost remained still. Consequently, on one hand education, health and transport system broke down and on the other the surge of unqualified, ill-equipped, and untrained institutions in the private sector further complicated the issues for the growing population of Pakistan.
We hope, after the settlement of NFC award, the provincial governments will take necessary steps to improve Services Sector in all four provinces of Pakistan. For business and investment growth, an active, effective and efficient Services Sector is a pre-requisite. Without efficient Services Sector, the dreams of economic growth and prosperity always remain unfulfilled.
While federal government will shift major portion of resources to provinces, it should also focus on restructuring its structure to replace present redundant structure with a more active, effective and efficient structure.
For example, federal government does not need this huge number of ministries. More ministries basically mean more complications, more expenses, and more hurdles in governance.
Govt. does not need constitutional amendment to liquidate these ministries. An executive order can do the job.
Most of the jobs being done by these huge ministries can be done by small size agencies controlled and directed by Directors or Secretaries. Bureaucrats are trained to run such agencies.
A country of Pakistan size does not need more than 11 or 12 ministries. Liquidating non essential ministries and creation of Independent Federal Agencies will decrease expenses, increase efficiency and make things more transparent.
A Prime Minister with the team of 11 or 12 Ministers can manage Pakistan better than a Prime Minister with 70 or 80 Ministers.
Consider this, what sense does it make from governance point of view to have 70 or 80 ministers in a Cabinet meeting without even a less than 2 minutes time to speak if the Cabinet meeting lasts for 3 hours?
NFC award is indeed good news. However, developing active, effective and efficient structures at Federal and Provincial levels is the key to use these awards effectively for the betterment and improvement of people of Pakistan.
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