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Pakistan Today

Published Date: Feb 19, 2012


The efforts at introducing reforms in the Islamabad Excise and Taxation Department have taught lessons that have the potential to be replicated to improve the governance crisis in the country.
This was stated by Former SDPI Executive Director and United Nations Head of Sustainable Development Division Dr Tariq Banuri while speaking at a seminar on ‘How Good Governance can be Ensured at Micro-Level’, organised by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) on Saturday.
Banuri, while analysing the recent reforms implemented in the ET department, said it was necessary to collect the public’s feedback through client and user surveys about the usefulness and sustainability of these reforms. He added that any decrease in the time needed to get vehicles registered as well as the reforms’ impact on government revenue should also be measured. A District Management Group (DMG) civil servant Dr Ehtasham Anwar said there were certain pre-requisites needed to improve governance at micro-level, including making express resolutions, taking concrete actions, being open to suggestions and consultation and the willingness to admit and correct mistakes and leading by example.
He said there were seven major components with regard to micro-model governance, including improvement of working environment, ensuring strict discipline, empowering people through information dissemination and limiting discretionary powers. He said further that one window facilities should be introduced for senior citizens, special people, retired government servants and women. He said VIP status should be given to teachers and to implement a comprehensive system of checks and balances which could ensure all such reforms were being followed in letter and spirit.
Dr Ehtasham also shared his experience of working as the Excise Director and spoke about the successes and failures he came across. SDPI Board of Governors member, Shafqat Kakakhel while highlighting the context of governance and improvement in state-citizen relationship, said he hoped the debate would address the governance challenges of the country. The speakers maintained that individual examples, particularly those by set by the leadership have the potential to make others learn as well as inspire predecessors for reform replication. They added that the improvement of the state-client relationship through sustainability of micro-models could be done by constant and systematic public pressure. Individual reforms could also be sustainable if the Standard Operating Procedures (SoPs) were revised and the staff motivated by the supportive attitude of their seniors.