111 510 510 libonline@riphah.edu.pk Contact

Impact of public admin on economics

Is there any way out of the dilemma that Pakistan finds it self in? It has had a series of public administrative reforms. Ayub tried to weed out the corrupt, Yahya Khan did the same, ZAB followed suit and Zia was no outsider to the Hitlerian rule but Musharraf really messed it up. The country that was behind all these reforms was our western friend and supporter in times of distress. That is how they would like themselves to be seen. They patronize us and we like to be patronised for after all what is the problem with being patted on the back and for the friends to help us get into sinking sand sooner than later. Is there then any optimal way to manage public administration issues? There seems to be no such way. The Fulton Report in the UK came with a lot of publicity but it came and went without a whimper. I tried to locate my eight volumes or so of the book but could not find it. Someone had done a good job of minor theft. Such thefts are irritants and the monetary loss is insignificant.

There seems to be no valid global rules for public sector and even the private sector is under stress to locate the best possible way to manage a country’s organisational structure. Is it because the behaviour of the individual is made up of such factors as cannot be modified to suit a country requirement? If we were to talk of delegated discretion then that discretion can be misused by those that may have a question-mark on their behaviour pattern. Discretion in the case of Pakistan has been more or less done away with. Yet discretion is the essence of decision making. Delegation and discretion create supervisory monitoring issues. Yet that delegation is necessary where the social system is as diverse as ours is. But that is not under any consideration at the moment. The PM only recently announced that a monitoring and evaluation (M&E) cell will be placed in the PM’s office. To the already plethora of organisations considering all kinds of complaints about the working of the bureaucracy one more is added. This will be used not for what it is set up but for centralised directions and threats to the bureaucracy as to how they should meet the political requirement of the political boss(es).

So far as the economy is concerned it will be more than obvious to the economic managers of this country and the institutional structures that support this mechanism that it is not possible to move these decisions to a central authority. If the Economic Co-ordination Committee of the Cabinet (ECC) thinks that this can be achieved it is sadly ill-informed. There is the basic argument about free markets and controlled markets. Pakistan does not have the wherewithal to handle all the doings of the economic feudal. All the mafia that exist within the country can any day hijack the system to its requirement. The textile mills, the poultry owners, the sugar manufacturers, the fertilizer manufacturers and so on are no mean players in the economy. They can bring the country to a standstill. The act of management requires deft skills. The media is articulating these issues these days without realising that there is no organisational structure that can do the required functional delivery of services and goods to the people of this country. But we are a funny people in the sense that we are so full of ourselves hat no one can tell us what we should do. We are Aristotle, Socrates and Descartes all rolled in one. This is true for sports as well as all economics in this country.

Ever since the neo-classical economics has emerged there has been an effort to explain human behaviour. That is always going to be difficult for economists are not well versed in behavioural psychology. The result is that organisational atrocities abound both by the political system as well as the bureaucratic one. How then are we going to address the aspect of inefficiency and corruption in the two systems that I have highlighted above? Take a simple example for the revenue karindes are the richest in terms of landed assets as a result of their being misused by the two agencies stated above. Can we set thieves to look after our assets? The present scenario is one in which the right to private property has not been well established. In fact, it may be a curse to have assets that one cannot handle with use of private force. The lower courts have not been able to provide substantive justice in matters of not only criminal justice but also in terms of civil laws. It is a sad reflection on the persons supposed to dispense justice. But matters do not stand where they are when justice is not dispensed. Then the entire organisational structure collapses.

It is easy to purchase the bureaucracy through future employment and petty benefits that can be given to them. But the political Hitlers have used the judicial system to settle scores. The anti-corruption institutions are fully aware of this but they keep at it as long as they are safe. Their safety remains only up to their current pay masters and things change for the worst when they have another political system in place.

This will continue. The organisational structure is what it is and nothing that the anchors can do about it. They can lament just as we are doing at the moment and that is about it. The impact is adverse on the economy and the sums are not important for if one were to construct a scoreboard of ifs and buts that will make a sorry reading. Keep on living in cuckoo land. In ayurvedic medicine only two diseases dealing with meat eating and meat usage were prominent because that is what the kings used to indulge in good food and much of it as well as pleasures of life. The present political system is one with the Mughals. They indulge in life as if they are going to be there in perpetuity. Look at the nocturnal life of these goons posing as public representatives. It’s predator living.

When will we learn the lessons of governance? In fact when will our immature system graduate in life? Never is word for the cricketing idiots in management. Never was the situation so terrible as it is now. When a sport is not performing then the economy is also in a nosedive. The one is a mirror image of the other. Have it whichever way you want. The public can go to hell for there is no way that they can have responsive bureaucracy whether in matters of civil administration or in financial matters. The FBR is probably the biggest suspect of them all. The imagination needed to improve the situation is not there. Try as we might the future is still pretty dark. The world is aghast that it cannot find any solution to the issues.

Dr Zafar Altaf, "Impact of public admin on economics," Business recorder. 2015-02-28.
Keywords: Economics , Economic issues , Economic system , Economic policy , Economic growth , Economic inflation , Economic development , Social conditions , Social policy , Economy-Pakistan