Civil servants’ role is critical in economic transformation: Ahsan Iqbal

Islamabad, April 04, 2016 (PPI-OT): Federal Minister Planning, Development and Reform Ahsan Iqbal has said that civil servants have to play a key role to keep the growth momentum after country achieved macroeconomic stabilization due to the hard work of last two and half years.

Today, Pakistan has right economic orientation to register higher economic growth to produce surplus wealth and its equitable distribution to end the poverty in the country. For achieving further economic growth, we need to become a competitive economy by excelling in productivity, quality and innovation. Federal Minister Planning, Development and Reform expressed these views while addressing the participants of National Management Course (NMC). Ahsan Iqbal spoke at length the role of civil servants and the reforms government is going to introduce in the civil service to improve the efficiency level of civil servants and bringing improvement in public delivery system.

He stated, “Efficiency level of civil service dropped drastically during non-democratic periods. To deal with this challenge, Government embarked upon ambitious plan of civil service reforms to improve public sector delivery system. He pointed out that these reforms are civil-service led contrary to ones imposed upon them in the past from outside.

Ahsan Iqbal noted that aim of these reforms is to put in place a performance management system and creating a negative bias towards non-performance in public sector. He also underlined the need to change the entire training regime by introducing latest training models in it as well as switching it over to technology platform to improve its efficiency.

Minister Planning and Development said that government is also working to setup a new Pay commission to recommend for flexible and transparent compensation for the civil servants according to their abilities to lead and deliver in their respective departments. Responding to question, about human resource development, Minister Planning and Development pointed out that federal government is left with only higher education after social sectors were devolved to provinces after 18th amendment. We have increased higher education budget from Rs.48 billion to Rs. 78 billion last two years as well as working on setting up universities campuses at district levels. Pakistan is also negotiating with USA to train 10,000 Ph.ds scholars during next ten years.

Talking about China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Ahsan Iqbal said that this trans regional project would create larger West Asia economic block through improved regional connectivity in the region. Pakistan lies at the confluence of three engines of growth – South Asia, Central Asia and China – and CPEC would connect these three engines.

He felt that India would soon realize the importance of CPEC for regional economic integration. He stated, “Present Government has been working to peace and security in the region through normalization of relations with India because peace suits everyone and our region is bagging behind other regions in social indicators. He said that water security is a big challenge for Pakistan and government is working on priority in this area. Ground breaking of Diamar Bhasha Dam is expected by end of this year, but we need more dams in future to tackle the issue of water security in wake of climate change challenge.

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