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Adapting Public Sector Services to Local Delivery


  • Ishrat Husain

    () (Dean and Director, Institute of Business Administration (IBA), Karachi)


This article describes the local government system established in the 2001 Devolution Plan and its evolution over the period 2002-07, with a focus on two essential public services, education and health. We believe that the devolution of service delivery functions, delegation of financial powers, decentralization of authority, and deconcentration of executive powers, can, together, lead to better accountability of results and, hence, to improved public service delivery to the poor and marginalized. The Devolution Plan made inroads toward these goals, particularly in education, but their achievement was incomplete due to a number of factors, among those incomplete fiscal decentralization, limited targeting of backward areas, and centralizing tendencies of the provincial departments and civil service. Recommendations are offered on how to further develop the local government system more generally, with an eye towards increasing accountability and improving coordination both across local governments and between tiers. For this, complementary reforms to simplify business processes and revamp human resource management policies are needed; introducing a district level civil service is among the suggested changes. The article concludes with detailed recommendations on improving the decentralized delivery of education and health services.

Suggested Citation

  • Ishrat Husain, 2012. "Adapting Public Sector Services to Local Delivery," Lahore Journal of Economics, Department of Economics, The Lahore School of Economics, vol. 17(Special E), pages 359-385, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:lje:journl:v:17:y:2012:i:sp:p:359-385

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Haroon Jamal & Amir Jahan Khan & Imran Ashraf Toor & Naveed Amir, 2003. "Mapping the Spatial Deprivation of Pakistan," The Pakistan Development Review, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, vol. 42(2), pages 91-111.
    2. Cheema, Ali & Khwaja, Asim Ijaz & Qadir, Adnan, 2005. "Decentralization in Pakistan: Context, Content and Causes," Working Paper Series rwp05-034, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
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    1. repec:eee:rensus:v:74:y:2017:i:c:p:1361-1370 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    Devolution; decentralization; service delivery; health; education.;

    JEL classification:

    • H75 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Government: Health, Education, and Welfare


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