Ahsan Iqbal stresses modernising civil services for progress of nation

F.P. Report

LAHORE: Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiative Ahsan Iqbal has said that civil services should be modernised and bureaucrats should be given training on modern lines in three branches including Foreign Services, Finance and Economics and Media to run the country in a better way.

Addressing the concluding ceremony of the 32nd Senior Management Course (SMC) and 117th National Management Course (NMC) held at the National Institute of Management here on Friday, he said that the world was changing with each passing day and the country would have to change with the pace of the world‘s developments to tackle these changes.

He suggested that a training school for bureaucrats like the National Defense University should be established in which education, training and research should be focused and a special certificate should be given to those bureaucrats who pass out from the school. He said that the best bureaucrats should be brought in the school as trainers and special approval should be obtained from the Ministry of Finance in this regard.

He said that modern education like artificial intelligence should also be taught to the bureaucracy. The minister said that bureaucrats should know how they could work for progress of the country. He listed six suggestions for the purpose. Number one is introduction and implementation of peace and harmony in society and the second one is to provide regulatory to the governments by the bureaucracy, he said.

The minister said that the current governing model is out-dated and only that bureaucrat would be serve the country successfully who would make a team by taking the community, business and society on board. For the 4th one, he said that a good coordination among the interior, foreign, finance and other departments play a vital role in the country’s progress whereas it was observed that the officer of one department delayed the file of the other department.

Sharing the fifth suggestion, the minister said that bureaucrats should learn how to deal the public with pleasant gesture with an impact of pleasure for people, adding that people would give more taxes if they were happy with the government.

He said that the last and sixth suggestion was that the civil services personnel should learn new things and remain updated with the fresh knowledge, as the knowledge about everything gets outdated after every five to seven years.
He said that the nation would be eliminated if it did not learn to live with the modern systems of the globe.

The minister said that it was attempted to put the country on the track in 1997 and then in 2013, but unfortunately the political instability always de-tracked the country. He said that just after four-year period, when there was shortage of energy and Pakistan was facing terrorism, ambassadors of all big developed countries used to ask where should they invest in the CPEC [China-Pakistan Economic Corridor] initiative.

He said that in just four years, the country started producing 11,000 megawatts of electricity and advantage of billion dollars to the economy but, unfortunately the political tension at that time had destroyed everything the government had done at that time.

The minister said the development budget had been increased from Rs 350 billion to Rs 1000 billion but later there were no funds for the development projects. “Pakistan did not face such situation even after nuclear tests,” he added.

Ahsan Iqbal said that bureaucracy could play a vital role to put the country on the road to progress and first of all, tax collection was needed to increase. Tax collection in all developing countries was 16 per cent, the minister said adding that the struggle should be carried out to bring new people in the tax net instead of imposing taxes on the same old consumer as several businesses were being shifted to other countries like in Dubai.

He said the IMF chief was questioning how would you run the country now and there was only one way left to bring foreign investment in the country. “For bringing the investment in the country, Pakistan will have to develop business friendly environment as soon as possible,” he added.

In 2017, on the directions of Chinese President Xi Jinping, more than 100 big Chinese companies opened their offices in Islamabad and a big investment was expected at that time in the country, but what happened to them?, he questioned and said that corruption allegations were made against them and visas were refused to them.
“ So those companies had closed their offices in Pakistan after allegations and derogatory behavior by the that time rulers,” he added.

The minister said that unfortunately, the country was still following the export policy of 1960 and not a single company in the Karachi Stock Exchange was doing export of more than $10,000, adding that Angro and Fauji Foundation like companies were also not generating dollars. “We have to increase our export instead of depending upon the loans from the IMF or other friendly countries,” he added. He said that the remittances should be increased from $30 billion and around $2 billion had to give to the estate enterprises.

He said that deficit of $16 billion had to be faced just because of the Pakistan International Airlines, adding that there was an opportunity to reduce this deficit of 10 years after COVID-19, but due to statements of some ministers, the PIA had to face a big loss and all business shifted to the other foreign airlines.

The minister said that the country should be protected from the political polarization and bureaucracy should also avoid political affiliations.
He said that intolerance should be discouraged and everybody should tolerate opinion of each other.(APP)