PRINCIPLE CONCEPT: Financial Transparency & Accountability
‘New Standards of Accountability and Transparency!’
OBJECTIVE & PURPOSE:
To make available details (either estimations or exact figures) of total budgetary allocations available to the Federal and Provincial governments, and to the ministries that fall within their jurisdiction. Also, to document and invoice all expenses and financial transactions carried out by each branch of the government, irrespective of the size of the outlay of the expense.
The core purpose of this legislation is to make available all financial details of the government on an e-portal in a transparent manner. The details will be made accessible to everyone, most importantly, the tax-payer, who pays for these financial transactions and has the right to know how his/her hard-earned money is spent.
BENEFITS OF THE LEGISLATION:
The economy of Pakistan is in shambles. The GDP, its growth, chronic unemployment and poverty, along with innumerous other ills prevail. This legislation will directly combat these factors by targeting the root causes of these ills i.e. financial irregularities and endemic corruption.
The e-portal will list details of the finances available to the government along with the budgetary allocations between the federation and the provinces. Moreover, it will list all the amounts allocated to the ministries falling under the federal and provincial governments. In addition to this, all other financial outlays, to government entities, subsidies, loan re-financing, etc. will also be listed.
The e-portal will essentially contain details of all financial transactions conducted by any branch of the government; along with the rationalization for that expenditure. They would be broken down into primary, secondary and peripheral costs in accordance with their importance. This would allow all disbursement and expenditure to be viewed, reviewed and critiqued. By bringing it out in the open, the possibility of exaggerated costs would be minimized and the government would save millions. Also, as it would be reviewed and there would be feedback, the government would be informed of the cheapest alternative for any cost. If not at that point, the feedback could be useful for similar transactions in the future.
BENEFITS TO THE COMMON MAN:
As the e-portal would be accessible to all citizens of Pakistan they would be able to see how the government is utilizing the funds at their disposal. It would also enable citizens to hold the ministries and departments accountable, for the output achieved based upon the amount they received from the government.
Moreover, as it would list details of other expenses incurred by government representatives, the citizens would learn about unnecessary expenditures and would be in a position to question the rationale behind them. This would also compel government functionaries to ensure that they do not spend government funds frivolously.
The e-portal will also provide a picture of the expenses of the executive branch; particularly when the country is going through an economic crisis. By having a portal where such expenses are listed, the executives would be disinclined to use funds unless absolutely necessary.
By creating a system that details budgetary outlays, the various departments of the government would automatically adhere to austerity measures to avoid the embarrassment of being questioned over expenses that appear unnecessary.
The availability of details of financial transactions would allow citizens to compare the costs incurred, and if at any place the listed costs are greater than existing market rates, the point could be raised. This way all financial irregularities and erroneous invoicing could be eliminated, particularly the extra costs incurred due to the involvement of middlemen.
DETAILS OF THE PROPOSED LEGISLATION:
An e-portal will be established, which will contain the hierarchical structure of the federal and provincial governments. Along with a clear and concise organogram of the government, there will be limited details of the purpose of that ministry, and links to the official websites of that ministry.
The Unique Selling Proposition (USP) of this e-portal will be that each component (or ministry) that falls within the government’s organogram, on the federal and provincial level, will have details of the total budget which is allocated to each ministry and its departments.
This allocation of budget will be done on the macro and micro level, and would be shown through various illustrative diagrams such as pie-charts, graphs, etc. For instance, there would be allocations of: Federal & Provincial Government; Within the Provincial Governments; Ministries falling within the Federal Government; Ministries falling under the provincial governments (including the outlays for Gilgit-Baltistan & Azad Jammu & Kashmir); Executive Branch in terms of Prime Minister House, President House, Secretariat, Chief Ministers, Chief of the Armed Forces, Provincial Ministers etc.
An essential facet of this portal is that all those bodies and arms of the government that incur expenses of any sort are listed on it; along with details of their budgetary allocations.
This is one aspect of the e-portal, i.e. is to provide a snapshot of the total finances at the disposal of the various ministries and their departments.
The other and more crucial aspect of the e-portal will be to have listings of details of expenses incurred by each department. Each and every single financial transaction must be recorded and uploaded on the e-portal by the relevant branch of the government, with emphasis on transparency.
The desired function of this activity is to juxtapose the allocated budget against the expenses incurred by each entity of the government to create transparency of monetary dealings.
- Comparison of Budgeted vs. Actual Cost (or Expenditure)
- Budgetary allocation in terms of Developmental & Non-Developmental Cost (this can again be illustrated visually)
- Details of Developmental Budget
- Details of non-developmental costs such as those for administrative purposes
- Details of peripheral & other costs
The entire purpose of this e-portal is to match available resources with expenditure and bring transparency to the entire process. If applied properly, it can have benefits beyond that of just creating transparency regarding the financial activities of the government and its various branches and sub-branches.