ISLAMABAD: The government has decided to advertise posts of members of the Planning Commission that have fallen vacant after two-year contracts of the existing members expired.
The move is aimed at strengthening the all-important commission by hiring efficient members.
In order to ensure transparency, it had been decided to advertise the posts of members of the Planning Commission, as the existing members had been hired only for a period of two years, said Ahsan Iqbal, Minister for Planning, Development and Reform while talking to The Express Tribune.
The move will provide an opportunity for the government to attract talented people in the Planning Commission, which has an important role in economic policymaking but is overshadowed by the Ministry of Finance.
Prime minister is the chairman of the commission while planning minister acts as the deputy chairman.
Iqbal’s comments come after a report said the contracts of half of the members of the commission had expired few months ago while the contracts of remaining members were ending this month. Earlier, the government had decided to give an extension to the existing members and had begun the process.
The minister said the advertisement would provide an opportunity for the government to get the best talent through competition. The existing members would be eligible to compete.
The technocrat members earlier hired from the private sector had taken new initiatives in their respective fields during the past two years. Some of these initiatives were implemented while others did not.
From May 2014 to August 2016, the government had hired members of the Planning Commission. Most of them contributed to economic planning. At times, the Ministry of Finance, provincial governments and well-entrenched bureaucrats became a hurdle to the implementation of their reports.
With the government’s decision to publish advertisements, these positions would fall vacant. The members whose contracts had expired were still coming to office. Some of them could not proceed abroad on official visits due to expiry of their contracts.
Iqbal said the Ministry of Planning did not send individual summaries to the Prime Minister’s Office for extension. It had been decided that extension in the contracts would be sought in a single summary after expiry of all the contracts, he added.
In addition to the PM and the planning minister, there are nine members of the commission including the secretary planning and development division, member coordination, chief economist, director Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, members of implementation and monitoring, social sectors, science and technology, energy, infrastructure, and food and agriculture.
The Planning Commission is responsible for preparing the National Plan and reviewing and evaluating its implementation, formulation of the annual plan, monitoring and evaluation of implementation of major development projects and programmes.
Iqbal said during the last three years, the commission focused on areas which had been neglected in the past, adding dozens of new initiatives were taken in addition to focusing on development-centric policies.
He said in the past the infrastructure sector had been ignored while the PML-N government believed that investment in that area would become a base for sustainable growth.
According to presentations given by the economic ministries in June this year to diplomats, the government has embarked on an ambitious plan to invest $76 billion over the next six years to address energy-supply bottlenecks and build quality infrastructure.
In the six years, Pakistan would receive an estimated $58.2-billion investment in the power sector and a major chunk would come under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. These projects are aimed at producing 30,948 megawatts of electricity.