KARACHI: Quality of governance has ‘marginally improved’ during the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) led government’s first year in power, according to a ‘score card’ issued by the Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency (PILDAT).
The advocacy group has given the PML-N government’s performance between June 4, 2013 and June 5, 2014 a score of 44% in its Assessment of the Quality of Governance in Pakistan.
“Based on comparative data provided by the federal government on 25 key governance indicators for 2012-2013 and 2013-2014, the performance of the federal government seems to have marginally improved,” reads a summary of the PILDAT report.
It states that the performance analysis indicates that the focus of the PML-N government was on national defence, internal security and the energy sector.
However, out of the 25 indicators, the PML-N government scored above 60% on only three – disaster-preparedness (62%), merit-based recruitment and promotions (61%) and foreign policy management (60%). It received the lowest scores on poverty alleviation (22%) and transparency (27%).
The Nawaz government’s public sector development and efforts to combat corruption, ensure peace and stability, enhance investor friendliness and national defence received scores around the 50% mark. It received scores of 44% and 42%, respectively, on immunisation of children and water resource management.
While discussing positive governance indicators for the PML-N government’s first year in power, the PILDAT report points out that “for the first time a national internal security policy was introduced which established the Directorate of Internal Security under the National Counter Terrorism Authority.”
It also points out that foreign policy was strengthened to attract foreign investments. “The major thrust of all key investments and bilateral agreements has been in the energy sector.”
According to the report, total foreign investment reached $2,979 million, compared to $1,277 million over the same period in the preceding year. “Local investment increased by 8% and foreign portfolio investment 200 fold,” it says, adding that the country’s economic outlook has shown ‘promise and steady progress’.
The report also notes marginal improvement in socio-economic indicators, including literacy.
Among the negative aspects of the Nawaz-government’s first year in power, the report counts poverty alleviation and lack of progress in achieving the UN’s Millennium Development Goals.
“Almost half of the country’s population is living below the poverty line, according to the Human Development Report 2014, and the unemployment rate is just below 6%, according to the Economic Survey 2013-2014,” it states. “The government has shown little progress in achieving the eight Millennium Development Goals and will almost certainly miss all targets.”
“Legislation also remained a weak area during the first year of the federal government in office. While 11 bills were passed by the National Assembly, in addition to the Finance Bill, 2013-2014, only one of these became a law after its passage by the Senate,” the report added.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 8th, 2015.