Subpar Scorecard: KP government’s performance on development shoddy

0
2675

Peshawar: Never mind that it was a score below even half of 100 percent. But back in the day when some pupils would be content with passing, not excelling, 33 percent used to be the lowest denominator for passing exams and promotion to a higher grade.

Now the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has scored as low as 31 percent when it comes to implementation of the Annual Development Plan (ADP). Where does that put the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, the party led by cricketer turned politician Imran Khan, in the general reckoning of performance.

Below par, is the dominant opinion among experts.

The Pakistan institute of Development and Transparency (PILDAT) that assesses annual performance of provincial governments has marked the PTI led government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 31 per cent for implementation of the ADP for the year 2013 -14.

The PILDAT’s low score for governance in the KP province is backed by findings of another organization Center for Governance and Public Accountability(CGPA) working in the field of quality governance that says only 45 percent of the total budget allocated for the Annual Development Plan (ADP) was spent by the KP government.

“The KP government only utilized Rs. 62.9 billion by June 5, 2015, out of a total Rs. 139.8 billion allocated for development activities under the ADP,” said a CGPA press release available with News Lens.

PILDAT assesses the governance performance of the provincial governments through a systemic framework whereas the CGPA has unveiled data of the utilization of budget, supporting PILDAT’s findings.

The objective behind PILDAT’s initiative on Assessment of the Quality of Governance is to highlight areas of strengths and potential areas requiring improvement in the quality of governance, says the PILDAT report that found the PTI government’s performance lacking in governance.

A member of KP provincial assembly member and senior leader of PTI Shaukat Yousafzai termed the PILDAT assessment report as baseless saying that over 90 percent of the ADP had been utilized by the provincial government.

He, however, admitted that some lapses occurred in ADP utilization due to electronic tendering that take time, delaying release of funds for projects.

“The provincial government has changed the tendering procedure that takes more time to ensure fair and transparent release of funds to contractors for completion of the projects,” Yousafzai told News Lens by phone, adding that projects have been now initiated that would ensure 90 per cent utilization of ADP.

PILDAT’s framework to monitor the quality of governance and assess the performance of the federal and provincial governments of Pakistan benefit from many international frameworks. The framework has been indigenously prepared with input from a 27- member Governance Assessment Group comprising some eminent experts across four provinces.

PILDAT has assessed the performance of the provincial governments on the basis of 24 parameters falling under Policy Formulation – Legislation and Institution Building and the results achieved through implementation of those policies.
For the implementation of annual development plans, the Punjab and Sindh provinces have been ranked first with 40 percent,Baluchistan stand a second with 36 percent while the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa ranked the lowest at 31 percent.

Experts have widely criticized the PTI government on shoddy implementation of ADP last year when a large chunk of development funds were transferred back to the federation because they were left unspent.

Khadim Hussain, a Peshawar-based political analyst and Managing Director of the Bacha Khan Education Trust termed the PILDAT assessment report that ranked the KP government high in unemployment and poverty alleviation as not credible.

He said that the governance of PTI-led provincial government could be judged by the sloppy implementation of the ADP.

“Last year, the KP government failed to spend over 70 percent of the development funds,” Hussain told News Lens, adding that the government focused on benefiting individuals than strengthening institutions.

He said the government waited till the local government elections to start developmental projects so as to secure an edge over opposition parties in elections.

Commenting on the procedure followed by PILDAT for evaluating governance, Hussain said that it used data provided by government departments. “The data provided to for such reports is mostly manipulated.”

He suggested that policy formulation and implementation was needed first and only after that a government’s performance could be properly assessed.

Other parameters for evaluating governance included anti-corruption, management, education, healthcare and immunization of children where the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa scored as low as 35 per cent, 39 per cent, 45 per cent and 34 per cent respectively. Punjab scored the highest among provinces with 56 per cent, 47 per cent, 48 per cent and 49 per cent.

However, KP has ranked first on two parameters – management of unemployment and poverty alleviation – out of 22 parameters of quality governance.

The province ranked second in overall 24 parameters of quality of governance with a score of 37 percent with the Punjab government at a top 42 per cent.

Baluchistan and Sindh governments both scored 34 per cent in the assessment and ranked at number three after Punjab and KP.

An official at the Planning and Development Department of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa told News Lens on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to media that the development plan was not being implemented as the government had set new procedures and term and conditions for contractors.

He said in the past, government funds would be released to contractors even before work on the project was started. “Now the policy has been changed and contractors would not get any funds till a project is properly implemented.”

The official said the government’s electronic tendering process slowed down implementation of projects as it was thorough and more transparent than the one used by previous governments in the province.

When asked about the lapse of ADP fund that Hussain had mentioned, the official said that earlier the Construction and Works Department used to deposit unspent funds into a bank account before presentation of budget in the month of June “which was not a legal way of dealing with this issue.”

“Now the practice [of transferring money into a bank account] has been stopped and the contractor would have to either complete the project or get the money back to the department,” the official said.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here