Queuing Theory and Government

A few weeks ago, I got a chance to attend a forum hosted by the Liberal Party and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom. It was nothing but a showcase of traditional pandering and demagoguery. Political parties here in the Philippines are more about funding and convenience rather than a unity for ideology.

Iloilo city mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog

I did, however, find one of the speakers quite notable as he talked about concrete results that his administration has achieved in the city of Iloilo. One of the things he mentioned would be bringing down the average waiting time for a business permit from an average of 30 days to just three hours (can anyone confirm this?). This is staggering as the Index of Economic Freedom says the world average is at around 3 days.

I figured this has a lot to do with queuing management and quality control, something lacking in many government bureaucracies. There's this guy in my office that the company hired that can conjure mathematical equations that calculate queuing and the best process that will produce the best output. Since the government is monopolistic in nature, there are no incentives for this kind of queuing management and quality control in its products and services.

In the private sector, employees are usually scored through KPIs and by some sort of quality assurance model. An appointed bureaucrat on the other hand does not get scored. Providing good or bad service to few or many citizens will result in the same payout. These are positions where no HR guides the hiring process. Many times, these bureaucrats are appointed based on affiliation and not skills. There is a lack of check and balance that naturally emerges in a competitive and non-monopolistic environment like in the private sector.

Magallanes bottleneck

Heavy traffic is one big concern that stifles our growth and development. It really gets crazy and I experience this firsthand almost every day. I don't even know what kind of queuing management model will improve some of our streets. From what I've been seeing, MMDA's plans merely include ideas about extending truck bans or having counterflow schemes. MMDA and LGUs should have an open door policy and make their plans transparent. This way, engineers and agencies can assess these plans and provide some sort of quality assurance in a free market of ideas. 

Another thing the Iloilo city mayor mentioned is that a lot of investors and developers are flocking to Iloilo because of his policies. This is good. In the market, people vote with their feet. Less bureaucratized will mean job creation and economic growth. At the same time, making local government policies compete will make sensible policies viral. Not only will this empower the provinces, it will reduce overcrowding in Metro Manila thus also providing a solution to the heavy traffic.

If verified, we must copy the policies of the Iloilo city mayor that seek to reduce red tape and minimize bureaucracy. We must decentralize power and give back sovereignty to local governments and allow for policies to be competitive.

It's friday payday again tomorrow and I'm not really looking forward to driving. I see queuing everywhere.

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