Top bureaucracy warned not to delay implementation

Express May 20, 2010

ISLAMABAD: Adviser to the Prime Minister Senator Raza Rabbani has warned the top bureaucracy of a backlash from smaller provinces if it hinders the smooth implementation of the recently approved 18th constitutional amendment bill.

Rabbani, who is also heading a commission to oversee the implementation, called a meeting of several federal secretaries at the PM’s secretariat here on Thursday to seek their opinion on how the government should move to implement the bill. Hailed as landmark legislation by political circles, the 18th amendment calls for abolishing several ministries and divisions from the centre and transferring them to provinces.

According to media reports recently, the top bureaucracy was maneuvering to either block or delay the implementation because they would be losing some lucrative slots if it happens. But Raza told them this attitude won’t be a service to the nation and can entice anti-federation sentiments in smaller provinces other than Punjab, one of the participants told The Express Tribune. According to him, there was a consensus among all the participants that this bill is important to ensure a higher level of administrative and financial autonomy for provinces and must immediately be acted upon.

According to a handout issued here, Raza stated that the government has the political will to ensure the implementation of the 18th amendment. Rabbani called upon the federal secretaries to intensify their efforts in implementing the 18th amendment which marked a major paradigm shift for them also. He said that it was imperative to take up this challenge and meet the prescribed deadline given in the constitution. He further said that the process of transition will be overcome by an efficient and effective civil bureaucracy.

He said that it would be imperative for various ministries to study the effects of the elimination of concurrent list and suggest remedies for any lacunae that may be experienced. He also pointed out that the capacity of provincial governments to manage issues previously contained in the concurrent list would also need to be studied.

Published in the Express Tribune, May 21st, 2010.

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