Saturday December 04, 2021

Govt opening up top secretariat posts for experts from private sector

May 09, 2021

ISLAMABAD: The government is opening up top secretariat positions, so far reserved for civilian bureaucrats from various cadres, to technical experts from the private sector as well as from within the government.

Informed sources say that the cabinet committee on institutional reforms has already firmed up its proposal to bring the best talent to top secretariat positions to ensure better policy-making instead of leaving these positions for the same set of bureaucrats who join the civil service through the CSS competition.

“The aim is to encourage this talent to work for the government,” an official source says, adding that in this era of specialization, our capacity is being impaired as officers from generalist cadres occupy all the top positions in the secretariat despite lack of performance in most cases.

“We are opening up the top secretariat posts so far reserved for generalist cadre officers to technical experts from the private sector as well as from within the government,” the source says, adding, “Given the dearth of competent people staying in the government, we have to find innovative ways to retain them.”

For the same reason, it is said that the cabinet has recently decided to allow government servants who are PhDs or have foreign master’s degrees, to compete for Management Scale Positions (MP).

There has been some criticism against the government’s decision to allow qualified civil servants to compete with others from outside the government for Management Scale Positions (MP) without first tendering their resignations.

A source explains that the decision to allow serving civil servants to compete with outsiders was taken by the cabinet after careful deliberations in the cabinet committee on institutional reforms.

Reports about hidden approval and bureaucratic manipulation, it is said, are contrary to the facts and misleading. The rationale behind this decision, according to sources, is that we allow our highly qualified officers with PhDs and Master’s from top universities to go and work for donor agencies but we don’t allow them to use their expertise to upgrade our own capacity.

According to the decision, there will be no reservation or quota for civil servants, and they will have to compete with others from outside the government. Generalists without PhDs and Master’s and the requisite experience in the field are not eligible to apply for these MP posts.

Out of a total of 29,000 posts of officer cadre in the federal government, only 108 posts belong to the MP scales.

This decision, it is explained, would provide a larger pool of applicants and level the playing field for all those who meet the eligibility criteria and can make it through an open, competitive process.

Resignations under the existing rules mean permanent severance from government service with the expertise and experience they gained in MP positions no longer available to the government, resulting in the diminution of its institutional capacity. The limit to serve in these scales is five years maximum.