Over regulation

In the realm of public sector administration, two persistent challenges cast a shadow over efficient service delivery: over-regulation and the under-utilisation of Information Technology (IT) particularly when examined through the lens of organisations like the Capital Development Authority (CDA), which boasts substantial financial resources. However, despite the potential benefits that technology and IT integration offer to streamline processes and enhance public services, the reluctance to adopt these measures becomes apparent when analysing the broader consequences. This article not only uncovers how over-regulation and IT neglect impact the local public but also delves into the underlying motivations that discourage change and perpetuate a culture of corruption and two-faced behaviour within such organisations. According to a report by PIDE, it is evident that buildings that can be completed in a period of 2 years usually take 6 to 7 years due to delays in obtaining No Objection Certificates (NOCs) from different departments. Wasting time on obtaining NOCs incurs significant opportunity costs, as delays in construction due to prolonged approval processes result in missed economic activity, reduced rental/sales income, and a lost chance to construct multiple buildings. This delay hampers job creation, stalls economic growth, and hinders market competitiveness.
Over time, public sector entities have become ensnared in a web of regulations, attempting to ensure accountability and fairness. Yet, a surplus of regulations can stifle progress and render the system cumbersome. The CDA, among other organisations, faces the challenges of navigating this bureaucratic labyrinth, causing delays and frustration for citizens seeking swift services.
In an age marked by technological advancement, the public sector’s hesitance to embrace IT solutions hinders progress. The CDA, despite its financial capabilities, often clings to traditional methods, failing to recognise how technology can expedite services, promote transparency, and enhance overall efficiency.
By integrating IT systems, public sector organisations can automate processes, eliminating unnecessary red tape and accelerating service delivery. Citizens, who often experience delays in obtaining permits or approvals, stand to benefit from this streamlined approach.
Technology introduces transparency and traceability into operations, making it challenging for individuals to engage in corrupt practices or accept bribes. Digital records and automated processes create an environment where illicit activities find it difficult to take root. IT integration reduces the need for extensive physical storage facilities and archives. This translates to cost savings for organisations, as they can redirect funds towards improving public services rather than maintaining oversized buildings and storage spaces.
IT solutions ensure secure data storage and efficient management, significantly reducing the risk of data loss or unauthorised access. This not only bolsters the organisation’s reputation but also safeguards sensitive information.
While the advantages of IT adoption and streamlining processes are evident, certain hidden motives hinder the implementation of these measures, public sector entities that have become deeply involved in corrupt practices resist IT integration, as transparent systems threaten the covert revenue streams gained from bribery and corruption. The introduction of IT and streamlined processes challenges the power structures that allow corrupt practices to thrive. Those who benefit from these practices resist change to preserve their unwarranted advantages. Embracing IT demands heightened accountability and transparency. Entities that have long operated in an opaque environment resist change to avoid exposing their actions to scrutiny.
The complexities of over-regulation, IT neglect, and the underlying motivations within organisations like the CDA shape the landscape of public sector administration. By embracing technology and dismantling cumbersome regulations, these organisations can create a more citizen-centric, efficient, and transparent system. However, resistance to change, rooted in a desire to preserve corrupt practices and unwarranted gains, presents a significant obstacle. Ultimately, the path forward requires a dual commitment: a genuine resolve to enhance public services and an unwavering determination to combat corruption. Only through this concerted effort can public sector entities overcome the challenges of over-regulation, adopt technology, and cultivate an environment where the welfare of the public takes precedence over hidden motives.

The writer is an entrepreneur and construction professional. He engages in research work in International Relations.

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt