ISLAMABAD: The Federal Cabinet has directed the Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives to give representation to the Finance Ministry, in the selection committee, for the post of Chief Statistician, for future appointments.

These directions were issued when Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin raised his voice at a recent cabinet meeting, saying that despite Finance Division being the primary client of PBS, the representative of Finance Division was not included in the selection committee, and in future this aspect may be taken care of.

The Planning Development & Special Initiatives Division briefed the Cabinet that the Section-14 of the General Statistics (Reorganization) Act 2011 empowered the Federal Government to appoint Chief Statistician of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics on such terms and conditions as it may be determined. The Chief Statistician shall hold the office for a period of five years or till attaining the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier. On recommendation of the Institutional Reforms Committee (IRC) and with approval of Ministry of Finance, the post was converted into Special Professional Pay Scale-II (SPSS-II).

The post of Chief Statistician was advertised on January 01, 2021 (and the Addendum on January 3, 2021) highlighting ToRs of the post for inviting applications. Out of thirty-three applications received in-House Scrutiny Committee shortlisted sixteen candidates for interviews by the Special Selection Board. The Board in its meeting held on April 19, 2027 examined credentials of sixteen shortlisted candidates and selected seven most relevant candidates for interview.

The sources said the second meeting of the Special Selection Board was held on April 27, 2021 to conduct interviews of seven shortlisted candidates. The Board, after conducting interviews of the seven shortlisted candidates and considering critical & highly technical nature of assignment, recommended a panel of following principal and alternate candidate(s) for appointment as Chief Statistician at initial stage of SPPS-II: (i) Dr. Naeem-uz-Zafar (PhD) principal; (ii) Dr. Muhammad Hashim Popalzai Alternate- 1 and ;(ii) Dr. Khalid Riaz (PhD) Alternate-II.

Planning, Development and Special Initiatives also recommended that the incumbent be offered initially one-year assignment as probationary tenure, which shall be reviewed and assessed against the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for continuation of the prescribed tenure or otherwise.

As per the instructions of the Cabinet Division, the Establishment Division was consulted. In light of the observations/views of the Establishment Division, Planning, Development and Special Initiatives proposed that the ‘principal candidate’ recommended by the Special Selection Board might be considered for appointment as “Chief Statistician” for a period of five years, in consonance with section-1a (3) of the General Statistics (Reorganization) Act 2017, at the initial stage of pay package of SPPs - II from the date of joining.

It was also proposed that, in case, the principal candidate faired to join the position for any reason whatsoever, within 15 days from the date of issuance of offer letter, the candidate recommended as Alternate-I and Alternate-Il may be offered the position on similar analogy.

After brief discussion, Cabinet approved the appointment of Dr Naeemuz Zafar, as Chief Statistician, for a period of five years, in consonance with Section-14(3) of the General Statistics (Reorganization) Act 2011, at the initial stage of Pay Package of SPPS-II from the date of joining. The Cabinet further approved that, in case, the principal candidate failed to join the position for any reason whatsoever, within 15 days from the date of issuance of offer letter, the candidate recommended as Alternate-I and Alternate-Il may be offered the position on similar analogy.

The Cabinet directed the Planning Development and Special Initiatives Division to ensure representation of Finance Division in the Selection Committee, for the post of Chief Statistician, for future appointments.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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