By Mansoor Ahmad
LAHORE: The Worldwide Governance Indicators 1996-2008, released on Monday by the World Bank, reveal that the level of government control in fields vital for the well-being of a nation is the lowest in Pakistan among regional countries.
Six governance indicators, which are crucial for the economic and social well-being of people, are voice and accountability, political stability and absence of violence/terrorism, government effectiveness, regulatory quality, rule of law and control of corruption. These indicators are measured in units ranging from -2.5 to 2.5 with higher values denoting better governance outcomes.
The governance level in Pakistan is in line with the poor economy and increasing poverty. It also substantiates the views of most of the leading economists of the country who have been pleading with the government to improve governance and transparency to ensure economic growth and well-being of people.
In voice and accountability, Pakistan is ranked 19th among 212 countries with a score of negative 1.05. India with a score of 0.45 is ranked much above Pakistan at 59th position, followed by Sri Lanka at 36th with a governance score of -0.44. Even Bangladesh with -0.61 is ranked 34th.
Only China with a governance score of -1.72 is ranked below Pakistan at sixth position.
According to the indicator, Pakistan has the lowest political stability in the world ranking it as number one among 212 countries with a governance score of -2.61. Sri Lanka is ranked third with a score of -2.04, followed by Bangladesh at 10th with a score of -1.54, India 17th with score of -0.99 and China at 32nd scoring -0.32.
In government effectiveness, China is on top in the region having more effective government than 64 of 212 countries with a score of 0.24, followed by India at 54th scoring -0.03, Sri Lanka at 47th with -0.29, Pakistan at 26th with -0.73 and Bangladesh at 23rd scoring -0.77.
In regulatory quality, Pakistan was better than Bangladesh at 45th with a governance score of -0.47. India, China and Sri Lanka were ranked 47th, 46th and 44th respectively.
Pakistan ranked lowest at 19th in the rule of law with a governance score of -0.92 while India at 56th topped the region with a score of 0.12. Sri Lanka is at 55th, China at 45th and Bangladesh at 27th.
Governance, according to the World Bank, consists of traditions and institutions by which authority in a country is exercised. This includes the process by which governments are selected, monitored and replaced; the capacity of the government to effectively formulate and implement sound policies; and the respect of citizens and the state for the institutions that govern economic and social interaction among them.
The governance indicators presented above reflect the statistical compilation of responses to the quality of governance given by a large number of enterprise, citizen and expert survey respondents in industrial and developing countries, as reported by a number of survey institutes, think-tanks, non-governmental organisations and international organisations.