Regulatory authorities across Pakistan, because of their sluggish bureaucratic model, are very inefficient in their productivity. This inefficiency is followed by an increase in the backlog of cases, further compromising their ability to work in a scheduled manner.
Government authorities must engage in policy formulation, capacity building, and institutional modernization to speed up processes related to land. Assessing the slow pace of these regulatory authorities, there is a need to privatize some of their department in order to reduce the backlog of cases and take some slack from the regulatory authorities.
Within these regulatory authorities, the plans and construction departments that approve the structure and design of a building should be privatized and given to very highly qualified companies that have professional architects and designers on market-based salaries who are given the mandate for high-quality performance. This will reduce the current excessive delays in plan approvals.
This particularly affects large commercial plots where developers have often taken out loans to work on the project. The inordinate delays are often due to departments wanting “chai money” to work faster.
With a more transparent approval mechanism, digitalization of records, using artificial intelligence to record, scan and scrutinize the land will help decrease corruption and increase efficiency.
During Shahbaz Sharif’s tenure as CM Punjab, the digitalization of records accelerated; however, Sindh is particularly behind on this front.
These companies can be given mandates as to how they should perform their duties. The regulatory authorities can also oversee the progress by summoning a monthly report by these third parties.
This move would see a considerable reduction in the number of backlog cases and the excessive delays faced by the public due to departments wanting cash under the table and would serve as a capacity enhancement tool for these regulatory authorities.