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The Express Tribune

Published Date: Jul 16, 2013

Service accessibility: Lack of political will, unregulated markets causing inefficiency

of a political will, unregulated and inefficient market system and bureaucratic
red-tape are among the reasons for government’s inability to provide basic
services to the public sector.

were the views expressed by experts at an event organised by the Sustainable
Development Policy Institute (SDPI) on Monday. The discussion, titled,
"Understanding the Dynamics of Access to Public Services: The Framework
for Voice, Exit and Accountability", is also the subject of a working
paper under the AAWAZ programme which focuses on the issue of access to
services in the public sector.

Research Fellow and Governance Specialist Dr Shehryar Toru said that people
resorted to ‘voice’ to show their resentment to the state’s non-provision of
services. "In the absence of a response, citizens also chose to ‘exit’ and
acquire services such as education and health from elsewhere if they have
enough disposable income.

Pakistan as a diffused society, Toru said the underprivileged in particular
faced difficulties in obtaining basic goods and services due of bureaucratic
red-tape, widespread corruption, ineffective accountability and an unequal
distribution of resources.

Participatory Organisation Chief Executive Naseer Memon said that the state
needed to take more responsibility to ensure efficient service delivery to the
people and lamented the government’s lack of political will in addressing core

said that the lack of information and technology was also proving to be a
hindrance. "Public sector development has hit rock bottom and we cannot
satisfy our citizens. Unfortunately, those with political connection get
personal favours while the rest are hung out to dry," he added.

argued in favour of devolving state power with regards to the distribution of
services. He maintained that while markets were imperfect, the state was
obligated to play a regulatory role in ensuring that markets delivered and were
accountable to citizens.

echoed these sentiments, saying, "the market functions only for the rich,
while the poor are neglected".

to the paper, rich families with disposable income can afford to send their
children to schools in the city, while the poor were entrapped due of a lack of

the poor, an ‘exit’ option becomes less attractive because it depends on cost
and quality of the alternative service.