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ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet has refused to give an extension in the three-month deadline given to Ministries to appoint Chief Executive Officers (CEOs)/Managing Directors (MDs) of organisations falling under their administrative control, well-informed sources told Business Recorder.

On November 24, 2020, the Establishment Division apprised the Cabinet that the cases for appointment of Heads/CEOs/ MD5 were processed by the administrative Ministries/Divisions. Establishment Division was consulted under Rule 11(C) of Rules of Business, 1973 as this Division was mandated to ensure effective implementation of the policies of Federal Government regarding appointments in the federal government.

The federal cabinet in its meeting held on October 27, 2020 took the following decision: "Cabinet took notice of the presentation by the Establishment Division on existing vacancies of CEOs/MDs in various Divisions and directed that all positions be filled within three months without fail.

The concerned Minister and the Secretary shall be personally responsible to implement the decision. In case a Division cannot fill any vacancy within the given timeframe, reasons thereof shall be communicated to the Establishment Division within one week. Establishment Division shall present the same before the Cabinet within a fortnight."

The Cabinet Division circulated the decision to all Secretaries/Additional Secretaries through a U.O on November 2, 2020 and Establishment Division also requested all Ministries/ Divisions to share the requisite information on immediate basis.

The sources maintained that as many as 15 Ministries/Divisions replied out of which seven identified 34 positions which cannot be filled within three months with reasons thereof.

However, seven Ministries/Division did not provide any requisite reply to Establishment Division in line with the decision of the Federal Cabinet wherein it could be presumed that they fill the posts within stipulated time of three months with the exception of SOEs which were under consideration for merger, liquidation, and privatization or under litigation, etc., where a timeframe for appointment of CE05/MDs cannot be determined.

The sources said seventeen Ministries/Divisions provided "nil/filled Report."

During a discussion in the Cabinet on November 24, 2020, the members enquired about the reasons given by Ministries/Divisions for not being able to fill the vacant positions of heads /CEOs/MDs. It was noted that majority of the Ministries/Divisions had expressed inability to abide by the given timelines due to absence of Service Rules.

It was also highlighted that in some cases the Service Rules envisage 100% filling of vacancies through promotion. In the absence of any suitable candidates the positions remain vacant.

The Secretary Establishment Division argued that Rules provide for filling vacancies through initial appointment where vacancy could not be filled through promotion due to absence of suitable candidates.

Secretary to the Prime Minister, Azam Khan, apprised the Cabinet that Prime Minister's Office had already given a timeframe to all Ministries/Divisions to frame/amend the Service Rules.

The members expressed dissatisfaction over inordinate delay in filling out such important positions and suggested that no further extension in timeless be allowed beyond three months. After a detailed discussion, the Cabinet directed that all Ministries/Divisions shall ensure finalization of Service Rules and consequent appointment of heads of organizations /CEOs/MDs within the timeframe given by the Cabinet in its meeting on October 27, 2020.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020