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August 5, 2020

Govt’s agenda of re-organising the govt

Top Story

August 5, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The PTI government’s institutional reform scheme envisages a detailed plan for reorganization of the federal government, civil service reforms besides promising completion of the restructuring exercise of Pakistan Railways, PIA’s overhauling and e-governance introduction in all federal ministries and divisions by the end of current year.

An official document recently presented before the cabinet about progress in the institutional reforms also talks about the restructuring of institutions like FBR, State Bank of Pakistan, Competition Commission of Pakistan, CDA, SECP, Auditor General of Pakistan, Evacuee Trust Property Board etc.

According to the document, the prime minister has approved a detailed restructuring plan prepared by the Railways ministry, which envisages the setting up of four new companies including Railway Holding Company, Freight Traffic Management Company, Passenger Traffic Management Company and Infrastructure Management Company. The restructuring exercise will be completed in four months.

A new ML-1 authority will also be established, Railway Board to be revitalised with the addition of new members from the private sector. The Railways Headquarter is also being strengthened.

Fifteen passenger and two freight trains are being outsourced and new IT systems are being developed for railways.

Regarding PIA, the document says the financial restructuring of the airline’s balance sheet is in progress and being supervised by a committed under finance secretary. Preparation of a strategic business plan for the PIA will be submitted to the ECC for approval this month.

HR’s rationalisation plan that includes offering of VSS (commonly known as golden handshake) to employees will also be prepared this month whereas n-core functions separation will be done by the end of this year.

For the re-structuring of Civil Aviation Authority complete bifurcation of Authority into two distinct entities separating the regulatory and airports management functions is being done besides clubbing of different categories of airports into separate subsidiaries for better management and possibly attracting foreign investments.

Regarding the restructuring of Federal Board of Revenue, the Finance Bill 2020 has already approved Enhanced Scope of Advance Ruling, Revitalizing Alternative Dispute Resolution Mechanism, Authorized Economic Operator Scheme and Real-time access to information and data bases.

The document says the World Bank’s Program for Pakistan Raises Revenue has already been approved by the World Bank Board. It promises simplifying tax collection, reducing the withholding regime, and increasing automation.

Reforms of the FBR Board will also be completed by December this year. There will be an eight-member Board enjoying financial autonomy and functional separation at HQ and in Field Offices.

For the restructuring of SECP, revamping of Policy Board so as to be comprising eminent members and to be chaired by a private sector expert rather than Secretary Finance is being done in addition to introducing end-to-end automation of processes. The restructuring plan for the SECP will be completed by the end 2022.

Regarding the Auditor General of Pakistan, a report has been prepared for revitalizing and modernizing the organization, business processes, human resource, audit methodology of the AGP to make it effective and professional. Restructuring and reorganization are subject to amendments in AGP Act.

About the progress of these reforms, it is said that the draft AGP Act is under review in the Finance Division while pre-audit function has been devolved to seven Ministries.

In respect to ease of doing business, a committee headed by Advisor Commerce and Textiles has been constituted for modernizations and digitization of all licenses, elimination of unnecessary permits with the assistance of the World Bank, chambers, provincial government and other stakeholders.

Changes in local government rules will also be made to encourage industrialization. These reforms will be completed by the end 2022.

For the reorganization of the federal government, already the cabinet has approved a comprehensive plan under which 324 out of present 441 organizational entities will be retained by the federal government. Under this plan, 88 executive departments and 204 autonomous bodies have been notified. Notifications for transfer of 10 entities to provinces and relevant divisions, liquidation of nine entities and merger of 17 organisations have already been issued.