ISLAMABAD: The Federal Cabinet has decided to review its decision on allowing civil servants to compete for MP scales for five years, after Secretary Cabinet Sardar Ahmad Nawaz Sukhera asked for a review in policy of deputation due to shortage of competent officers in the civil service at senior positions, well-informed sources told Business Recorder.
On April 8, 2021, Cabinet Committee on Institutional Reforms (CCIR) observed that currently civil servants can work in international agencies on deputation basis but are not eligible for MP scale positions under the policy until they resign from the service. Resultantly, the best of civil servants opt for deputation to international agencies such as the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the United Nations (UN).
In order to attract them to work within the Government, it was agreed to allow civil servants to compete for MP scale positions without resigning. Hence, the Establishment Division shall appropriately amend the MP scales policy to allow selection, on deputation, of civil servants against MP position(s), while remaining in-service, for a maximum period of five years i.e. (3+1+1) only once in their career subject to the condition they must compete and get selected through an open and transparent selection process.
The Committee also observed that there is a severe shortage of HR in all ministries/divisions specially to handle complex issues. In case of any specific requirement, the ministries/divisions usually request donor agencies for HR support in spite of the fact that sufficient funds are generally available as savings against salaries of vacant posts. The main hurdle in this regard is difficult selection process. Therefore, the CCIR decided that all ministries/divisions will be allowed to hire services of consultants/experts to perform any “specific task” for a period of up to “six months” and maximum cost up to Rs 6 million on contract basis through simplified hiring process of advertisement on the website of concerned Ministries/Division for two weeks and selection of expert/consultant from the three CVs, as followed by the Government of the Punjab. In this regard, the Establishment Division, in consultation with Finance Division, shall prepare and notify detailed procedures along with terms and conditions which must be simple to facilitate the ministries/Division to fill capacity gaps.
When the minutes of CCIR were placed before the Federal Cabinet on May 4, 2021, the Cabinet Secretary, with reference to decision of CCIR in case titled “Amendment in the Cabinet’s Resolution, 2013”, appreciated the recommendation to allow appointments of civil servants against the MP scales positions. However, he highlighted the need to review the policy of deputation with the donor agencies. He argued that there was already a dearth of capable officers in the federal secretariat at the rank of Joint/Additional Secretaries, and allowing competent officers to serve with donor agencies has exacerbated the shortage. It is essential that such officers come back and use their acquired knowledge for the good of the government. He suggested that permission to work with donor agencies may be limited to two years. The Secretary to the Prime Minister pointed out that deputation against MP Scales was already covered under MP Scales Policy 2020, which may be rechecked.
The members emphasized the need for eliminating disparity in salaries of officials working in the same pay scales. It was observed that creating islands of prosperity served as a disincentive for those working in the core ministries/divisions. The Minister for Finance and Revenue stated that this issue is under consideration in the forthcoming budget.
The Cabinet also ratified the decision of CCIR in the case titled ‘Amendment in the Cabinet’s Resolution, 2013’, taken on April 8, 2021 with the stipulation that issue of deputation of civil servants against MP scale positions be revisited.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021