Good governance, democracy and development
By Aftab Ahmad Khan
Government may be taken as connoting how people are ruled and how the affairs of the state are administered and regulated. It encompasses the state's institutional and structural arrangements, decision-making process and implementation capacity. Conversely, it also implies the possibility that the government may be captured by self-seeking elites intent on plundering the nation's wealth. Good governance depends on the extent to which a government is perceived and accepted as legitimate, committed to improving the public welfare and responsive to the needs of the citizens. An essential feature of good governance, according to the World Bank is the effective management of a country's economic and social resources for development which crucially depends on the provision of a predictable and transparent framework for the conduct of public and private business in a milieu which promotes accountability for economic and financial performance. Another essential element of good governance is an objective, efficient and reliable judicial system as well as honest law enforcing agencies that effectively carry out court decisions. There is no doubt that in Pakistan as well as in many other developing countries, growth and poverty alleviation measures have been impeded on account of excessive centralisation, degeneration in the quality of the machinery of law and order, weak financial accounting and auditing systems, damaging discretionary interventions, uncertain non-transparent and variable policy frameworks, and massive dimensions of corruption and waste. Not infrequently public funds have been used to finance white elephants at great economic cost to the nation. It is also an unfortunate fact that progress towards policy reforms has been hampered by uncertainties in the investment climate. It is now generally agreed that good governance depends on effective representative institutions. Such institutions...
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