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New e-governance system: There won’t be any need for clerks

By Mehtab Haider
January 17, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Adviser to Prime Minister on Institutional Reforms Dr Ishrat Hussain said on Thursday that the government was replacing the traditional ACRs system with objective based Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for evaluation of performance of civil bureaucracy. For achieving 20 percent below average on KPIs for consecutive three years, the concerned officers would be separated from the civil service.

He said that the government was introducing e-government where there will be no need of clerks and supporting staff. However, the government would not sack anybody from the service but after retirement no new recruitment would be made for replacement, so these posts would be eliminated in gradual manner.

“The pension bill could become explosive in coming years so the need arises to come up with defined contributory fund to avoid using money from the national exchequer every year”, the Adviser to PM on Institutional Reforms and Austerity Dr Ishrat Hussain said while addressing a seminar at the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) here on Thursday.

He said that the summary for tenure security for federal secretaries for two years was approved by the cabinet. To a query about possibility of lateral entry into civil service, he said that the advisors and technical experts could be hired at senior levels.

He said the government was not bringing changes in acts for introducing civil service and institutional reforms as only rules would be changed to achieve overhauling of bureaucratic structure and state institutions. With the reforms, he said those would oppose who will lose entitlements and perks and privileges while agriculture economists would be happy who was unable to get promotion after doing PhD and sitting in same grade for last several years. He said the role of DMG would be minimized gradually.

Dr Ishrat said that there were multi-faceted challenges on governance front and the public service delivery could only be improved by overhauling bureaucratic structures. The bureaucratic structure, he said, was in total disarray as there were 1,600 to 2,000 federal government officers who go through normal promotion during their carriers but there were 22,000 officers mainly engineers, agriculture experts, economists and others who did not have clear progression path.

He said the existing ACR system created no difference between good and bad and everyone got same ACR report so the government was going to replace ACRs system with objective based KPIs and middle of the year the objectives could be –redefined to incorporate new job requirements. Under the new system there will be 20 percent officers who will be given outclass evaluation, 60 percent satisfactory report and remaining 20 percent below average. All those who will achieve zero objectives and termed as 20 percent below average for three years, they would be separated from the service.

On compensation packages for civil service, he said they found that the officers from grade 17 to 22 were under paid compared to the private sector while from grade 1 to 16 they were overpaid compared to the private sector. The 85 percent of salary bill goes for 62,500 employees working into the federal government from grade 1 to 16 while only 15 percent bill is meant for 2900 officers who work in grade 17 to 22.

He said the government was introducing e government and the posts of clerks and supporting staff would be gradually eliminated. He said that there were 441 government departments and institutions out of which 43 would be transferred to Sarmaya-e-Pakistan, 14 to provinces, 8 to be liquidated and 35 would be merged. So remaining 324 could be classified into executive department that would be standing in the range of 87 while remaining 237 would be treated as autonomous bodies.

He said the CADD (Capital Administration and Development Division) abolished while Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) would be divided into regulatory and operational. The Defence and Production Division would be overhauled where private sector experts would be hired. For CCI Secretariat, there will be federal secretary attached with it.

For institution of economic governance, he said that the government would introduce amendments into SBP Act for ensuring more autonomy for the central bank. He said that the ministers could hire technical advisors through open and transparent process. He said he had learnt lesson from mistake that the detailed report could not be implemented and cited example that he prepared detailed report through National Commission on Government Reforms (NCGR) from 2006 to 2008 but it could not be implemented so now incremental approach devised to implement civil service reforms in phases.