Governance has deteriorated in Pakistan: World Bank report

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By Mansoor Ahmad
LAHORE: The rhetoric of the previous regime about good governance has been exposed by the World Bank report ‘Governance Matters VII’ that states that governance in Pakistan deteriorated to the lowest ebb in 2007 than a decade ago.
Latest governance indicators, evaluated by the World Bank for all its member countries, include voice and accountability, political stability and absence of violence/terrorism, government effectiveness, regulatory quality, rule of law and control of corruption. On almost all counts, the governance was better in 1998 than in 2007. In fact, Pakistan’s governance level was much lower than India and China and in some cases even below Bangladesh.

It has been separately proved by a World Bank research that better governance ensures better economic growth. Each of these governance indicators is evaluated on a scale of plus and minus 2.5. Positive 2.5 indicates highest level of governance and negative 2.5 represents lowest level of governance.

Pakistan falls in the negative zone in all the above governance indicators that call for massive reforms in all spheres of life. However, in 1998 its score was -1.33 that increased to the extreme of -2.44 in 2007. In the African state of Rwanda, the governance level improved from -2.15 in 1998 to -0.19 in 2007. Even in China that is accused of human rights violations, the score was -1.70 while India with a score of -0.38 and Bangladesh -0.63 performed much better.

The voice and accountability indicator measures the extent to which a country’s citizens are able to participate in selecting their government, as well as freedom of expression, freedom of association and free media. This freedom was never ideal in Pakistan. The voice and accountability score was relatively better at -0.74 in 1998 but it deteriorated to -1.05 in 2007.

India with a score of -0.38 is the best in the region while China with -1.70 is the worst. Bangladesh’s score on this count was -0.63 that is 40 per cent better than Pakistan.

Pakistan scored the worst on the political stability and absence of violence indicator that measures perceptions of the likelihood that the government will be destabilised or overthrown by unconstitutional or violent means, including politically-motivated violence and terrorism. The political stability in Pakistan has never been ideal. In 1998, its score was -1.33 that increased to -2.44 in 2007. Even a country like Rwanda has improved its standing on this count from -2.15 in 1998 to -0.19 in 2007. China with a score of 0.33 is the most politically stable country in the region followed by India with -1.01 and Bangladesh -1.44.

The government effectiveness indicator measures perceptions of the quality of public services, the quality of civil service and the degree of its independence from political pressures, the quality of policy formulation and implementation and the credibility of the government’s commitment to such policies. Pakistan’s score improved marginally on this count from -0.66 to -0.62 in 2007.

India with -0.03 was the best and Bangladesh with -0.81 is the worst country on this count. China’s score of -0.15 is good from the regional perspective.

On regulatory quality, which measures perceptions of the ability of the government to formulate and implement sound policies and regulations that permit and promote private sector development, Pakistan’s performance deteriorated from -0.47 in 1998 to -0.56 in 2007. India, China and Bangladesh scored -0.22, -0.24 and -0.86 respectively.

Rule of law is the indicator that measures perceptions of the extent to which agents have confidence in and abide by the rules of society, and in particular the quality of contract enforcement, property rights, the police, and the courts, as well as the likelihood of crime and violence. Pakistan’s performance worsened from a score of -0.79 in 1998 to -0.96 in 2007. India has a far better score of -0.10, while China -0.45 and Bangladesh -0.81 have better governance in this regard.

The control of corruption indicator measures perceptions of the extent to which public power is exercised for private gain, including both petty and grand forms of corruption, as well as “capture” of the state by the elite and private interests. Bangladesh scored -1.05, China -0.66, India -0.39 and Pakistan -0.83, a slight improvement from -0.89 in 1998.

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