Good governance comes with establishing a sustainable administrative structure, which can effectively achieve excellence by employing minimum administrative heads supported by a strong human resource capital. For political motives, our successive governments and the opposition parties have concentrated their energies towards the size of the cabinet without taking into account the basic issue of reorganising the whole organisational structure, which over the years has become totally parasitic and unproductive. The last nail in the coffin of this madness has been orchestrated with the creation of a new portfolio of “Deputy Prime Minister”. There is certainly no limit to being pathetic.
For effective and cost-effective running of the government, many ministries can be clubbed or grouped together, thus reducing the size of the ministry and in the process making them efficient and economically viable. The Ministry of Culture can be integrated with that of Tourism, Communications; with Information and Broadcasting, Defence with Defence Production and Interior Ministry, IT with Science and Technology, Finance/Revenue with Economic Affairs and Statistics, Religious Affairs with Minorities, Planning and Development with Housing and Works, Education with Social Welfare and Special Education, Inter-Provincial Coordination and States and Frontier Regions with Kashmir Affairs and Baltistan, Railways with Pakistan Post. And finally, the Ministry of Commerce, Industries and Production, Petroleum and Natural Resources, and Ports and Shipping can come under a single umbrella. This will eventually reduce the number of ministries from 40 to 22 with a subsequent reduction in the number of divisions working under each ministry.
A similar reorganisation of 42 federal government departments can be easily achieved, thus reducing burden on the financially-starved economy. This reorganisation will have a trickledown effect, which will ultimately affect the provincial setups. At present, there are 42 departments in Punjab, 39 in Sindh, 35 in Balochistan and 30 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The existing strength of the cabinet can very effectively take care of the ministries, thus reducing the unnecessary expenditures being incurred to maintain a large cabinet at the cost of the poor the taxpayers’ hard-earned money.
The times have changed from when more people meant more productivity. Technological advancements aiding the human resource to achieve maximum productivity while maintaining quality standards has revolutionised how organisational structures and departments work. The change has to be embraced or else the inertia of this force will consume the already crumbling government infrastructures. The choice is ours; to evolve or perish forever!
The writer is a PhD in Information Technology, alumni of King’s College London and a social activist. He is life member of the Pakistan Engineering Council and senior international editor for IT Insight Magazine. He has authored two books titled Understanding Telecommunications and Living In The Grave and several research papers.