As ministries and divisions fail to meet the deadline for filling key vacant posts, the cabinet has sought explanation from the Power Division, which has the largest number of vacancies.
The failure of ministries and divisions to appoint people on major posts has upset members of the cabinet, which is nearing the end of its tenure.
Prime Minister Imran Khan had given a three-month deadline to all the ministries and divisions in 2019 for hiring professionals on the positions lying vacant at that time.
However, the premier and the cabinet have come to know that there are still 80 vacant positions on which the ministries and divisions have been unable to make appointments.
The Establishment Division gave a briefing to the cabinet in a meeting on October 12 on the existing vacancies for CEOs/MDs in the ministries/ divisions and their attached departments.
The Establishment Division recalled that in August 2019 the cabinet had directed the division to submit a report on the vacant positions of CEOs/ MDs/ heads in the ministries/ divisions/ departments in consultation with the respective ministries/ divisions.
Since then, the Establishment Division has presented reports and the update on vacant positions from time to time.
Earlier, the Establishment Division secretary gave a presentation to the cabinet in a meeting on April 1, 2021, wherein the cabinet directed the division to submit a report on reasons for delay in framing/ reviewing recruitment rules and the restructuring of organisations as well as the late start of recruitment process by the ministries/ divisions to the Prime Minister’s Office.
The Establishment Division submitted a comprehensive report on June 4, 2021. PM Khan, after going through the report, gave directive that the Establishment Division, in consultation with the ministries/ divisions, should categorise all vacant positions on following lines before next presentation to the cabinet.
One, the posts reserved for departmental promotion should be filled in the prescribed manner. Besides, the procedure to fill such positions by making short-term appointments was already well established. However, the selection/ promotion boards, wherever required, might be convened at an early date.
Two, to fill positions of public sector organisations/ companies that had been earmarked either for closure or merger, wherever required, the posting of civil servants of equivalent grade might be considered.
Three, the positions that had historically been filled by the posting of civil servants might also be listed separately and the Establishment Division, in consultation with the division concerned, might proceed further to fill the positions by posting the civil servants, after due approval.
Four, the positions should be filled through initial appointment by following a competitive process.
A summary on vacant positions identified 86 such posts as per the report submitted to the prime minister on June 4, 2021.
In the summary, it was revealed that 17 positions had been filled since April 1, 2021. Eight positions would be deleted/ abolished as identified by the ministries/ divisions.
Moreover, 19 new positions had been identified by the ministries since June 4, 2021.
The Establishment Division, in consultation with the ministries/ divisions, prepared a report based on the above lines and submitted it to the cabinet on October 12, 2021.
There were nine posts reserved for departmental promotion and 18 positions in the public sector organisations/ companies, which had been earmarked either for closure or merger.
There were nine positions, which had historically been filled by posting civil servants. There were 44 positions to be filled through initial appointment by following a competitive process.
During discussion, the Establishment Division secretary presented disaggregated data and highlighted that 80 vacant positions pertained to 23 ministries/ divisions.
He suggested that detailed presentations on the status of vacant positions of each ministry/ division could be given to the cabinet every week, starting from the ministry/ division with the highest number of vacancies.
The cabinet, while agreeing with the proposal, directed that detailed presentations should be given in its meetings, starting from the ministry/ division, ie the Power Division, with the highest number of vacancies.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 19th, 2021.
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