ISLAMABAD. Expressing concern over inordinate delay in filling positions of CEOs/MDs of important public sector entities, the Prime Minister has urged the Ministries/Divisions to initiate the process of appointing CEOs/MDs of organizations, under their respective Divisions, well ahead of the time the positions become vacant.
Prime Minister gave these instructions at a recent meeting of the Federal Cabinet when Ministry of Science and Technology and Ministry of National Food Security and Research shared update on vacant positions of MDs/ CEOs in entities/ Organisations falling under their respective administrative jurisdictions.
Ministry of Science and Technology, in its presentation briefed the Cabinet that the post of Director General (BS-21), PSECA fell vacant on September 25, 2021 on retirement of Abdul Aleem Memon (BS-21) DG, PSQCA. According to Schedule-I of PSQCA Service Regulations, 2015, the Federal Government was competent to appoint an officer against the post of Director General (BS-21).
The MP & SPP scale conversion committee in its meeting held on August 26, 2021, which approved the proposal of the M/o Science & Technology for converting the post of DG, PSQCA into MP-I Scale. Subsequently, the case was taken up with Finance Division on October 7, 202L for endorsement and formal approval. The sanction from Finance Division was still awaited.
Meanwhile, Ministry moved a summary to the Prime Minister on October 1, 2021 for the re-employment of ex-DG, PSQCA Abdul Aleem Memon (BS-21) beyond retirement for a period of three months or till the appointment of a regular incumbent of the post under MP-I Scale whichever was earlier in public interest on the existing terms and conditions.
However, Prime Minister Office conveyed to forward to a panel of three officers to assign charge of DG, PSQCA. Establishment Division was requested on November 3, 2021 to forward the panel directly to Prime Minister’s Office for assigning Additional Charge of the post of DG, PSQCA.
National Institute of Electronics (NIE): According to NIE’s Ordinance 1979, the Federal Government shall appoint Director General of the Institute, for a term of three years extendable further for another term. The post of DG (BS-21), NIE was advertised on September 17, 2021.
The Federal Cabinet on April 12, 2018 approved the appointment of Dr Khawar Siddique Khokhar as Director General (BS-21), NIE. Due to low salary package he did not join within stipulated time period.
The post was again advertised on January 13, 2019. The Federal Cabinet in its meeting on July 14, 2020 approved the appointment of Irfan Ahmad Rabbani as DG (BS-21), NIE. Due to some family issues, he did not join, as well.
The post was again advertised on April 21, 2021, but no suitable candidate was found fit by the Board for appointment as DG, NIE (BS-21). Thereafter, the Board observed that due to low salary package of BS-21 grade, well experienced/ qualified professionals were not interested to apply for the said post.
The Board recommended that the case for conversion of the said post from BS-21 to Management Position Scale (MP-I) may be initiated for approval by the Competent Authority.
The MP & SPP Scales Conversion Committee in its meeting held on August 26, 2021 approved the proposal of M/o Science & Technology for converting the post of Director General (BS-21), NIE into MP-I Scale. - Subsequently, the case was taken up with Finance Division on October 7, 2021 for endorsement and formal approval. The sanction from Finance Division was still awaited.
Pakistan Council of Renew Energy Technologies (PCRET): The mode of appointment for Director General (BS-21) was 100 per cent through initial appointment and was vacant since March, 2020. M/o S&T on March 19, 2021 and subsequently on April I3, 2021 approached Establishment Division to provide a panel of three suitable officers for appointment against the vacant post of Director General (BS-21), PCRET on deputation basis for a period of three years or till the availability of regular incumbent whichever was earlier.
Establishment Division on October 12, 2021 stated that Ministry of Energy (Petroleum Division) was approached for a panel of three BS-21 officers having relevant experience for appointment against the vacant post of Director General (BS-21).
Accordingly, it had been conveyed that Policy Wing, Petroleum Division had no post or officer (BS-21) on its sanctioned strength. The service rules of PCRET had been notified on October 7, 2021 and the post would be filled in due course of time through FPSC.
STEDEC Technology Commercialization Corporation of Pakistan (Pvt.) Ltd (STEDEC): According to Corporate Governance Rules, 2013 (Amended 2019) Managing Director of STEDEC was to be appointed by the Federal Government. The post of MD, STEDEC was vacant since April, 2021. Currently, Dr. Quratulain Syed, DG PCSIR, Lahore was looking after the work of STEDEC.
The Ministry advertised the post of MD, STEDEC on September 19, 2021. Accordingly, STEDEC issued interview letters to the short-listed candidates. The panel of three candidates had been finalised by STEDEC which was being submitted to the Federal Cabinet for approval.
Pakistan Council of Science and Technology (PCST): According to the Act of PCST, the Chairperson of the Council was to be appointed by the Prime Minister on the recommendations of the Federal Government. The post of Chairman, PCST (BS-22) was vacant since Feb 2018. Currently, Secretary MoST was looking after the work of PCST as an internal arrangement.
The post was advertised in September, 2018. Recruitment process was completed; however, it was decided to convert the post in MP-Scale. So the process of recruitment was stopped. Consequently, the case was referred to MP & SPP Scales Conversion Committee which recommended on 30-03-2020 to merge PSF into PCST and head of the new merged organization be selected on MP-I scale.
Earlier, in July 2019, Task Force on Austerity and Government restructuring decided to retain PCST as an autonomous body. On another occasion, Cabinet Implementation Committee for Reorganizing the Federal Government recommended on 2nd April, 2020 to abolish PCST by repealing its Act and merging of PCST with all its functions into Policy and Coordination wing of the MoST.
These three different decisions by the three different forums led to delay in the process of recruitment of Chairperson. MoST would take up the matter with CCIR to review earlier recommendations and allow retaining PCST as an autonomous organization with MoST.
Council for Works and Housing Research (CWHR): According to the Resolution of CWHR, the Chairperson of the Council was to be appointed by the Federal Government. Currently, Dr. Shahnaz Parveen, Director General, PCSIR Labs Complex Karachi was looking after the work of CWHR.
As per recommendations of Cabinet Implementation Committee for Reorganizing the Federal Government, proposal to transfer CWHR to M/o Housing and Works or to windup and place its employees on pool of Establishment Division. M/o Housing and Works did not agree to the proposed transfer of CWHR to M/o Housing and Works. MoST argued that CWHR may be merged into PCSIR as Civil Engineering wing instead of winding up, MoST would take up this proposal with CCIR shortly.
Ministry of National Food Security & Research: (i) CEO Fisheries Development Board (BS-20)- Short-listing of candidates had been completed. Summary was being moved shortly;(ii) CEO Livestock & Dairy Development Board (BS20)- Appointment of CEO, LDDB was sub-judice in Supreme court;(iii) Vice President Pakistan Central Cotton Committee (BS-20)- As per PM Agricultural Transformation plan, the organization was under restructuring; (iv) D.G Department of plant Protection (BS-20)- summary for contract appointment was sent to PM Office, the same had been received with observation to give current charge to the senior most Director of the Department.
Fresh summary had been moved to PM Office requesting three months’ current charge to the senior most Director BS-19; and (v) Chairman Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (MP-I)- The tenure of ex-Chairman ended on October 9, 2021. Summary had been sent to PM Office proposing three months’ current charge to the senior most scientist. The process for appointment of regular Chairman was being initiated.
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During discussion, Minister for Federal Education & Professional Training/Chairman, MP & SPP Scale Conversion Committee enquired as to why the cases approved by the Committee were being sent to the Finance Division for endorsement, which defeated the purpose of having a Committee with representation both from Finance and Establishment Divisions. It was pointed out that formal concurrence of these Divisions was a requirement under the Rules of Business, 1973.
Expressing concern over the inordinate delay in filling positions of CEOs/MDs of the important public sector entities, Prime Minister Imran Khan urged the Ministries to proactively drive the appointment process as the government could not afford the key organizations to remain headless for long periods. He also emphasized the need to initiate the process well ahead of time the positions became vacant.
A member suggested closure of STEDEC, as commercialization of technology was more a task of the private sector than the government. It was pointed out that the organization was sitting on prime property in Lahore, which could be best utilized for establishing an IT Park.
The Minister for Science & Technology, while admitting that the organization had failed to deliver since its inception, apprised about the plans to make it vibrant. The Minister for Federal Education & Professional Training/Chairman CCIR pointed out the reluctance of Ministries/Divisions to close down redundant organizations and part with valuable properties.
He sought the permission to bring a summary directly to the Cabinet containing recommendations of CCIR in this regard, which was granted by the Prime Minister. The Cabinet decided that Science & Technology Division shall submit the case for closure of STEDEC and disposal of its properties to CCIR.
The Cabinet also directed that restructuring of Pakistan Central Cotton Committee shall be expeditiously completed and the position of its Vice President be filled within one month.
The CCIR shall submit a report to the Cabinet with regard to closing of redundant organizations and disposal of their properties.
The article was originally published in the Business Recorder.