FoDP-suggested reforms for aid should already have been taken by Pak govt: Editorial

Monday, October 18, 2010

ISLAMABAD - The Pakistan government should have unilaterally initiated the reform measures necessary in the country under present circumstances, so that the Friends of Democratic Pakistan (FoDP) would not have to suggest the same to it in the group’s meeting at Brussels, an editorial in a leading Pakistani newspaper has said.

“Many of the measures suggested by the group are ones the government here should already have taken,” the Dawn editorial stated.

It said that the five broad areas of reform, which appear to have been recommended by FoDP were “transparency and efficiency in the use of foreign flood aid; meaningful tax reform that widens the tax base; rationalisation of non-flood-related expenditures to keep the budget deficit from exploding; power sector reforms; and laws to strengthen the independence of the State Bank, which is currently being forced to make highly inflationary loans to the government.”

However, it wondered if there would be any movement on these reforms, and if yes, how much and how soon.

Commenting on the issue of post-flood reconstruction and rehabilitation, the editorial pointed out that after the Brussels meeting, it was reported that the FoDP members ‘appreciated’ the government’s commitment to ‘ensure transparency, accountability and effective utilisation of resources’.

“But official, public language often masks serious private concerns,” it noted, adding that a report in the newspaper “highlighted the group’s worry that the monitoring mechanism put in place by the government in the shape of the National Oversight Disaster Management Council is inadequate and flawed.”

But the editorial also maintained that the flood victims “should not be punished for their government’s sins, so the international community should avoid making onerous and unreasonable demands.”

Equally, however, the government cannot be allowed to get away with a business-as-usual approach, it said, adding that more transparency and more accountability are needed, and “if it takes foreign assistance to ensure that, so be it.” (ANI)

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