ISLAMABAD:(APS)Speaking to the participants of two days national Consultative Workshop on uplifting performance of the public sector and civil service reforms, the federal Minister for Planing, Development and Reform Ahsan Iqbal said that federal government was taking serious measures to improve the quality of public service departments and ensure in minimum possible time the performance of government servants come on par with the global standards. He said that development is strongly linked to the public sector management and enhancing the quality of its services. he said that targets of development and growth can not be achieved without bringing reforms in the public sector. He said this addressing to the participants of a two days national consultative workshop on implementation of Civil Services Reforms in the country. Planning Commission is holding this Workshop in collaboration with the UNDP at a local hotel in Murree. Furthermore, the workshop is final round of consultation on Civil Service Reform, being attended by stakeholders ranging from federal & provincial civil service to private sector, private sector experts, technocrats and the top officials of UNDP.
Ahsan Iqbal said that the outcome of this workshop would be reflection of collective wisdom of all those participating in it and stressed that the participants should come up with tangible and doable recommendations. The final recommendations would be submitted to the Prime Minister and presented before the cabinet for onward deliberations and final approval.
Federal Minister Planning, Development & Reform Ahsan Iqbal during the inaugural session maintained that the workshop aims to come up with the comprehensive package on civil service reforms would be shared with the parliamentarians after approval by the Prime Minister and the cabinet. He said that letters were sent to the leaders of major political parties to seek their guidance and input on civil services reforms agenda. Similarly, consultative sessions were held with the provincial governments earlier this year. Since, all the major political fraternities hold share in the provincial set up either in the provinces or in the center, majority is already on board.
Minister said that the current structure of the civil services was introduced in the industrial and now its needs to be modernized and transformed following the standards of new paradigm of governance compatible with the knowledge area. He said that the reform agenda in civil reforms stands in conformance to the four pillars of the Vision 2025. These include revitalization of institutional reforms, collaborative governance paradigm involving public-private partnership, inclusiveness governance. These pillars aim to bring marginalized sections of society into mainstream and citizen-drive results by improving the public delivery system.
Ahsan Iqbal pointed out that Pakistan despite many loopholes in the civil services structure has great potential in terms of capable civil servants who are selected on merit; but unfortunately when it comes to service delivery, a situation results are not satisfactory. He stated. “Private sector keeps on undergoing transformation every passing day following international trends and global standards but unfortunately the public sector is still glued with the governance model of 50s that is keeping it in the state of intertia”.
He called upon the participants to present the concrete proposals rather than giving a mere wish list to make the civil service a high performance machine. Identifying the shortcomings in the present civil service reforms system, Minister said that there is no standardized mechanism to evaluate the performance, suggest for promotion or demotions and determine performance rewards and appraisals. The minister opposed the “one size fits all” model in the civil service maintaining that examination system for our Civivil Superior Services needs serious overhaul as currently it does not seem appropriate to help in selecting right people for many domains. He suggested that the examination system for the CSS should be revised and cluster-based approach might be adopted instead.
He called upon the civil servants and bureaucrats to equip themselves and their subordinates with the skills in Information technology and develop their expertise to make the best use of social media to bridge the gap between the government and the citizen. The minister said that the federal government has allocated one billion rupee as performance fund in federal budget for current financial year and its purpose is to enhance performance of civil the services and capacity building of the civil servants. He told that the Ministers have also been directed to come with the clear goals and determine Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for devising action plan to achieve the desired results in the respective areas.
Minister recalled many attempts to reform the civil service were made in the past which proved futile because of lack of implementation plan, political will and non-engagement of real stakeholders. He said that the the reform agenda taken up by the present government is part of Vision-2025 and it bears strong backing of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and his cabinet. The involvement of relevant stakeholders in the present reform agenda is reflected in the consultative process with the stakeholders.
Recounting the achievements secured in the past two years and the positivity created about the country on the international level, Ahsan Iqbal said that the real challenge ahead is how to meet the expectation of the world. If we were able to come up with the expectation of the world, then no one would be able to stop our journey towards development, economic boost, prosperity, well being of a common man and advancement in various fields. He said today’s Pakistan is now on the right track with clear priorities, realistic economic goals ensuring political stability and social harmony. Politicians learnt to great extent, judiciary is not repeating its past mistakes. Civil and military leadership are working in synergy to take the country forward.