Pakistan civil service to undergo radical reforms

By on 17/09/2015 | Updated on 24/09/2020
Federal Minister for Planning and Development Prof. Ahsan Iqbal addressing at the Certificate Awarding Ceremony of 17th Senior Management course in National Institute of Management, Islamabad on August 21, 2015.

The government of Pakistan has announced radical plans to reform its civil service, including the introduction of a performance management system, changes to its recruitment system and increased civil service pay.

Pakistan’s Ministry of Planning Development and Reform (MoPDR) is working with the UN Development Programme on reforming the public sector to improve efficiency, effectiveness, transparency and accountability.

Both organisations held a two-day workshop attended by around 100 of the country’s most senior civil servants, which produced a set of 80 recommendations for reform.

Presenting the findings on the last day of the workshop on Tuesday, planning minister Ahsan Iqbal said: “The present civil service structure has outlived its life. People’s aspirations have gone global and no government can match them with the present structure,” the Tribune newspaper reports.

The proposed plan includes a call for higher salaries for civil service positions to allow the government to recruit top talent, as well as crack down on corruption. “Extremely low salary packages are the reason for misuse of public resources,” Iqbal said.

The plan also calls for an end to seniority-based promotions and says they should be made dependent on performance. “Promotion should not be a right, it should be earned through performance,” Iqbal said in the Tribune.

Under the new plans, the government will be able to hire specialist cadres, who would be recruited by sitting for separate, cluster-based exams for each profession.

Currently, university graduates from all over Pakistan take a single entrance examination and on the basis of their grades, provincial quotas, and personal preferences, they are granted a slot in one of 12 professions. Selection does not take into consideration previous education. For instance, it is not necessary to have an accounting education to be inducted into the audit and accounts service.

Iqbal also said that the civil service needs a “tough performance evaluation mechanism to improve the public sector delivery system for the convenience of citizens,” the Daily Times reports.

The full recommendations will be sent to prime minister Nawaz Sharif for approval over the next few days. They are expected to be implemented by February 2017.

About Winnie Agbonlahor

Winnie is news editor of Global Government Forum. She previously reported for Civil Service World - the trade magazine for senior UK government officials. Originally from Germany, Winnie first came to the UK in 2006 to study a BA in Journalism & Russian at the University of Sheffield. She is bilingual in English and German, and, after spending an academic year abroad in Russia and reporting for the Moscow Times, Winnie also speaks Russian fluently.

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