Leveraging public-private partnerships for service delivery in Pakistan

Project Active from to Firms

Citizens' expectations for the government to deliver increasingly complex services has grown considerably, which has also exposed serious limitations of the current governance system to deliver these services.

A method of bridging the gap between demand and delivery in Punjab was through the creation of public sector companies, licensed under Section 42 of the Companies Act 2017, to increase the government's capacity. Over the past decade, the Government of Punjab set up a range of government-owned public sector companies (+50 companies registered under Section 42 of the Companies Act 2017) to deliver specific public services such as waste management, public transport, parking regulation, infrastructure development, and skills training.

Pakistan’s experience with these companies has been mixed. Some companies, such as the Punjab Saaf Pani Company, are alleged to have misspent public funds to the tune of RS 4 billion. Others have come under judicial and media scrutiny due to salaries being paid to civil servants beyond their official entitlement. In March 2018, the then Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan took action against these companies alleging gross corruption. The resultant judicial and media trials have raised questions about the efficacy of the ‘companies model’ of public good provision, as well as their accountability.

Through this project, the researchers will present detailed case studies of two companies - the Punjab Skills Development Fund (PSDF) and the Punjab Population Innovation Fund (PPIF) – to understand their success and highlight lessons learnt and best practices. The researchers will evaluate their performance against two sets of parameters: overarching government objectives discussed initially as parameters, and company specific parameters such as their internal goals, targets, and KPIs.

This work can lead to further research in an unexplored area of governance reforms – experimenting with novel models of delivering through the company’s model. Improvements in service delivery can be tested by suggested interventions in the design of such reforms.