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Donnerstag, 23.01.2020
eGovernment Forschung seit 2001 | eGovernment Research since 2001

Speaking at the launching ceremony of the Digital Pakistan Vision at the Prime Minister's Secretariat, Prime Minister Imran Khan stated that digitalization is critical for the benefit of the people as it would assist the government to bring a meaningful change in the life of the common man. This, he further contended, would reduce the paper in use by the federal government with an obvious positive impact on environment as well as provide opportunities to women to contribute to this sector and cash in on more jobs in the economy.

There is no doubt that the use of paper, sourced to trees, has had severe environmental implications and hence any attempt to reduce its use must be fully supported even though Pakistan imports paper to meet the bulk of its needs, however, one would hope that the government would ensure that there are no deliberate glitches in the computer system due to the perceived benefits associated with influential elements, given that the burning of paper records stored in government buildings has been a common enough feature in this country. At the same time, while new jobs may emerge as a consequence of the decision to have e-government yet it is unclear how many of the paper pushers would be made redundant and offered training to operate within the digital environment.

The Prime Minister then went on to politics and justified the massive reshuffle in the Punjab administration claiming that “we are getting familiar with the governance issues and everyone will see a change for the better." The Prime Minister, however, did not change any member of the Punjab cabinet indicating that he was convinced that the problem lay entirely in bureaucracy. Sceptics maintain that there have already been three to four changes in the top bureaucracy of Punjab without any visible improvement in governance and derive little comfort from the most recent change. Others argue that the Prime Minister's narrative has not changed and while he insists that top Punjab bureaucracy is to blame as it continues to be loyal to the Sharifs (in power in the province for 10 consecutive years) yet at the same time, he maintains that National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is at fault as the civil servants are not taking any decisions or signing off on any directives by the executive to forestall the possibility of being hounded by NAB. The fact, however, is that both the political leadership and the bureaucracy are partners in governance and to blame one while absolving the other is a policy that has so far been responsible for the lack of improvement in governance in the province.

There is no doubt that the current account deficit has declined, reserves have incrementally increased and the rupee has appreciated by about 5 percent as indicated on the SBP website. However, the prime minister would do well to understand the potential risks the SBP policy to attract so-called ‘hot money' through ‘carry trades' by fixed income investors (hedge funds) carries. Firstly, these funds are not Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) but short-term commercial borrowing at a high cost and Pakistan could burn its fingers like many other countries if cost of borrowing for these highly leveraged funds increases in the international market. It is important that we do not pile up short-term debt and instead go for issuance of bonds in the international market with a tenor of 5 years or more. The prime minister would be well advised to direct his economic team leaders to readjust their policies; and perhaps as economics is not his forte he may seek an alternate view of the state of the economy from those he appointed as members of his Economic Advisory Council.

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Quelle/Source: Business Recorder, 09.12.2019

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