Published Date: Feb 10, 2012
CSOS CALL FOR PUBLIC SECTOR ACCOUNTABILITY PROCESS
Civil society representatives have called for immediate formation of public sector accountability processes to ensure quality of services and good governance at different tiers.
Speaking at a consultation, the experts asked for steadfast institutionalization of social accountability tools in all government departments, both federal and provincial.
Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) arranged the daylong consultation Thursday.
The CSOs representatives urged the citizens to play active role in public sector accountability process.
Their consensus was that the social accountability tool would improve the effectiveness public service delivery.
Zaffarullah Khan, Executive Director of the Centre for Civic Education, highlighted governance gaps in development programmes in Pakistan.
He said government’s development initiatives depend on input-based measures while ignoring the results and outputs of various projects.
He also lamented government’s lack of capacity to run development projects adding that 82 per cent of development budget lapsed last year.
He called for establishing a local district government civil service cadre which may help in establishing enhanced accountability, empowerment, and effective service delivery at local level.
He was of the view that ‘Right to information’ is essential in ensuring social accountability but governments have only provided lip service as compared to exceptional progress made in India and Bangladesh.
Gulbaz Ali Khan of SDPI spoke on concepts and dimensions of social accountability tools.
While citing political, fiscal, administrative, and legal barriers in government led accountability process, he highlighted the need for demand side or citizen led accountability mechanisms in the country.
He lamented over poor service delivery of state institutions, which were lagging behind in taking care of the needs of citizens especially the poor. “Injecting further funds in the system may be the one aspect of solution but there is a need to increase efficiency, effectiveness, and equity of public expenditures”, he underlined.
He said implementation of social accountability practices might enhance civic engagement with improved governance, increase in developmental effectiveness and informed policy decisions which can lead to poverty reduction, strengthening of democracy and people’s empowerment.
Marvi Sirmed of ‘Strengthening Democracy through Parliamentary Development’ (SDPD) spoke on importance of civic engagements in budgetary allocations and said Pakistan has no mechanisms of incorporating peoples’ aspirations in budget preparations.
‘Unlike Pakistan, countries such as Brazil and Bangladesh, which practice participatory budget allocations, have witnessed vivid improvements in educations, health and other social sector programmes” she added.
She also called for devising institution of ‘Public Hearings’ in parliamentary standing committees to make it more accountable, efficient, and representative of aspirations of people of the country.
Farzana Saleem, Chief Operating Officer Hisaar Foundation, deliberated on building mutual accountability mechanisms where all stakeholders are accountable to each other including government agencies, private sector, civil society organisations, and citizens.
She said public may also be sensitized towards civic responsibilities and their conscious behaviour is necessary for such accountability and good governance culture.
Syed Waqar Gillani stressed on institutionalization of social accountability tools for providing effective service delivery and ensuring transparency at federal, provincial, and local levels.