Islamabad, Mar 03: A United Nations report has criticised successive governments of Pakistan for their dismal performance in facilitating development in the country's various social sectors despite being the third highest recipient of Official Development Assistance (ODA) after India and Egypt between 1960 and 1998.
Quoting extensively from the said UN Report, the lack of capacity to plan and deliver at the micro level, difficulties with bureaucratic structure and weaknesses in the rule of law as the main factors responsible for Islamabad's inability to deliver in the social sector.
"Pakistan received 58 billion dollars in foreign aid from 1950-99, however it systematically underperformed on most of the social and political indicators," claims the United Nations report titled 'UN reforms and civil society engagements.'
Criticising policy makers for the improper use of funds, the UN report said: "If Pakistan had invested all the ODA during this period at a real rate of six percent, it would have a stock of assets equal to 239 billion dollars in 1998, many times the current external debt."
The paper quotes Fayyaz Baqir, a Senior Adviser on Civil Society of United Nations Office of Resident Coordinator, and writer of the UN report, as saying, "Almost all National Building Departments are at district level, whereas the unit of most of the rural population of the country is local police station, or maximum tehsil. This gap hinders execution of most of the projects and policies, which doesn't bear any fruit even after spending generous funds."
Baqir also held disorganised communities responsible for the failure of policies and projects launched by the government.
"Due to inefficiency of mechanism to reach communities at local level, most of the money goes to the pockets of the officials and an artificial helplessness is created. This artificial crisis leads policy makers to seek refuge in looking towards international donors for more donations," he said.
He said there were 56,219 civil society organisations and 65,000 registered and over 100,000 non-registered community organisations in Pakistan.
"Contribution of these organisations towards poverty eleviation, health and environment is almost zero because these are responsibilities of the state. The mandate of NGOs is only capacity building," he concluded.