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New pay package: To stop brain drain, govt may introduce new service cadre

ISLAMABAD:  The government may introduce a new National Executive Service Cadre, offering lucrative benefits to people serving on top ...

New pay package: To stop brain drain, govt may introduce new service cadre

ISLAMABAD: The government may introduce a new National Executive Service Cadre, offering lucrative benefits to people serving on top positions – a move proposed to lure talented people from the private sector but carries the risk of being exploited by bureaucrats to their advantage.
“The government was facing difficulties in hiring people to head the country’s institutions,” said Minister of Planning, Development and Reforms Ahsan Iqbal on Wednesday. Due to brain drain and less attractive packages, it could not fill many posts during the past one year, he said.
Iqbal said in order to cope with the situation they were working on a proposal to introduce the National Executive Service Cadre for executives hired from the private sector as well as for federal secretaries. He believed the new cadre may attract talented people from the private sector.
Iqbal said if a federal secretary opts for the executive cadre, he will have to leave his security zone and accept challenging performance indicators that will be reviewed on a quarterly basis.
The National Executive Service Cadre’s idea had been floated by Lieutenant General (Retired) Tanvir Naqvi as chairman of the National Reconstruction Bureau. The idea was that after Grade-19, another exam should be held to induct people into the top-three grades, both from the public and private sectors.
But his proposal was shot down by the National Security Council of General Pervez Musharraf on the argument that bureaucrats would get backdoor benefits.
Later on, Dr Ishrat Husain too copied the idea in his report for the National Commission on Government Reforms.
Iqbal said due to the brain drain, positions for members of the Planning Commission (PC) have remained vacant so far. Many attempts were made by the previous government and the incumbent one to hire the chief economist of Pakistan, but the slot remains vacant, he said.
Against the advertisement, five candidates applied for the post of chief economist but there was a unanimous decision by the panel that none was capable of being the chief economist, he added.
Interestingly, one of the five candidates, Dr Talat Anwar, who was rejected against the vacant position of chief economist and member social sector, has been engaged as a consultant on macroeconomics by the PC.
Iqbal said the recommendations to introduce the new cadre will be submitted shortly for consideration of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. He said the government has also decided to revise upward the salaries of Management Payscale (MP-I) as these are considered inadequate.
Drawbacks
The biggest challenge to the government’s move will be from influential bureaucrats, who have in the past exploited all such opportunities, according to experts.
The MP-I scale that had been introduced for professionals is now fully exploited by the bureaucrats, mainly from the District Management Group. During the Pakistan Peoples Party’s tenure, some of the retired bureaucrats were hired on lucrative MP-I scales.
The post of chief statistician is a technocrat’s job in MP-I scale, but it is currently occupied by a former federal secretary.
Many ministries, particularly the Ministry of Finance, have been hiring retired bureaucrats on MP-I scale by bypassing the Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC), which is a violation of the law.
A commission official said the government cannot even offer benefits of MP-I scale to a retired bureaucrat, as under the rules, a retired bureaucrat can receive only 20% higher salary than mentioned in his last pay slip as a civil servant.
Officials said retired DMG bureaucrats could be the beneficiary of the proposed executive cadre. Some of them are lobbying to be hired as heads of state-owned companies after retirement, they added.

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