Blog by Tony Verheijen, Dutch national who is currently World Bank Country Director in Serbia, and previously Sector Manager of the Public Sector and Governance department in South Asia. This blog was published on December 15, 2014 on the World Bank website.
“Greetings! Sir, we purchased a property worth 11,000 Euros. We paid a tax for the purchase of 800 Euros and paid a bribe of 400 Euros for property registration”.
Citizens from the Pakistan Province (state) of Punjab – population of over 100 million citizens – send numerous SMS messages similar to this to Shahbaz Sharif, Chief Minister of Punjab, on a daily basis. Messages are then processed and consolidated feed-back on government services is posted on a public dashboard for everyone to see. But, more importantly, they provide Punjab’s administration (and the Chief Minister himself) with real time data about the delivery, quality, and efficiency of various public services. The key is, of course, that Sharif and his government follow up on the information they gather: fixing service delivery problems where they arise, rewarding bureaucrats for the good work and/or punish them for the lousy one.