Published Date: Feb 10, 2012
SOCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY VITAL TO ENSURING GOOD GOVERNANCE, BETTER SERVICE DELIVERY: SPEAKERS
Speakers at a consultation discussion have stressed the need for institutionalization of social accountability tools and role of citizens in the process.
This was the crux of a consultation discussion on formation of community of practices on social accountability tools, organised by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) here on Thursday, says a press release issued by SDPI.
“Social accountability approach relies on civic engagement in which ordinary citizens and civil society organizations have a vital monitoring and accountability role,” they stressed.
The representatives of civil society organizations from all across the country participated in the proceedings, highlighting the importance of social accountability in ensuring good governance and effective service delivery.
Zafarullah Khan, executive director, the Centre for Civic Education, highlighted governance gaps in development programmes and said: “Government’s development initiatives depend on input-based measures while ignoring the results and outputs of various projects”.
He also lamented the 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 district government civil service cadre that may help in establishing enhanced accountability, empowerment and effective service delivery at local level.
Khan declared right to information essential in ensuring social accountability but regretted that successive governments have only provided lip service as compared to exceptional progress made in India and Bangladesh.
Gulbaz Ali Khan spoke on concepts and dimensions of social accountability tools, citing political, fiscal, administrative and legal barriers in government-led accountability process.
The poet-turned development activist stressed the need for citizen-led accountability mechanisms. He lamented over poor service delivery of state institutions which has miserably failed to take care of the needs of citizens especially the poor.
“Injecting further funds in the system may be one aspect of the solution but there is a need to increase efficiency, effectiveness and equity of public expenditures,” he maintained. He said implementation of social accountability practices may enhance civic engagement with improved governance, increase in developmental effectiveness and informed policy decisions that 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 people’s aspirations in budget preparations.
“Countries such as Brazil and Bangladesh, which practice participatory budget allocations, have witnessed vivid improvements in education, health and other social sector programmes,” she added.
The outspoken rights activist-turned-columnist also called for devising institution of ‘public hearings’ in parliamentary committees to make it more accountable, efficient and representative of aspirations of the people.
Farzana Saleem, Chief Operating Officer, the Karachi-based Hisaar Foundation, deliberated on building mutual accountability mechanisms where all stakeholders are accountable to each other including government agencies, private sector, civil society and citizens.
Syed Waqar Gillani and other delegates including Mohammad Shafqat from UNESCO and Fayyaz Yasin of SDPI also spoke on the occasion.