Access to information stressed to ensure transparency, good governance

ISLAMABAD: Realizing the importance of transparency in governance and right to information legislation, Individualland– a nonprofit organization held a roundtable seminar on Friday, to promote a healthy debate that can yield positive results.

Participants from number of different organizations like Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA), National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Development Assistance Database (DAD), National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) and National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) took part in the roundtable.

The participants said access to information was mandatory to ensure transparency, good governance and to curb corruption in the country.

Speakers were of the view that transparency in governance refers to the absence of secrecy and mystery between the government and those being governed. It was implied that government shared as much information with the citizenry as possible. The information shared should not be ambiguous or selective, but complete and correct.

NAB’s National Anti Corruption Strategy (NACS) Director Alia Rasheed said that implantation of 40 percent of NACS in the country would bring transparency and eliminate corruption. She said that to ensure transparency there was dire need to ensure uniformity of law, establishment of vigilance units in government department, amendment in Esta codes and Binami Trust act. Implementation of PEPRA role and reforming of police was also mandatory to ensure transparency, she said.

Sajjad Hussain from NADRA said responsibility, accountability; internal and external control; vigilance; strong documentation and monitoring system and minimum enforcement of secrete act would play vital role to ensure transparency in the country. So far NADRA has issued 1.2 millions Watan cards to the flood stricken and paid Rs 24.1 billion to them, he said.

Transparency International Chairman Adil Gillani on the occasion said transparency meant openness. “Government departments need to put all records and information on their websites as it a public property,” he said.

He said NAB was responsible to take action against various scam like sugar crises not the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

Individualland Pakistan Executive Director Gulmina Bilal said that transparency in governance not only improved goodwill of the government but all its functionaries.

Governance is not just limited to politics but economic governance is of great importance as well. Economy of a country decides moods of the population, because their welfare depends solely on this important factor, she said.

Gulmina said that Pakistan being a democracy also had this legislation as an integral part of its constitution. However, its implementation was still not up to the mark. At the end it was agreed that better understanding of governance, especially economic governance and transparency are important aspects of successful governments. It was also agreed that consensus between different stakeholders on increasing transparency could only be ensured by proper implementation of the right to information legislation.



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