ISLAMABAD: The government has decided to re-advertise the post of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Coordinator besides giving extensions to the contracts of outgoing members of the Planning Commission till new ones are hired through a competitive process.
Although the contract of the incumbent CPEC Coordinator and Project Director Major General (retd) Zahir Shah has expired; he has been asked to continue since he is the focal person in the Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform on CPEC and coordinates meetings pertaining to the $46 billion umbrella project.
He has been engaged with CPEC since the project’s beginning.
According to Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reform Ahsan Iqbal, the post of CPEC Coordinator along with other member posts of the Commission will be re-advertised.
“The Planning Commission has also moved a fresh summary to the Prime Minister’s Office, requesting extension in the contracts of the outgoing members and the CPEC Coordinator till September 15,” said the minister.
“This would be a ‘technical extension’ providing legal cover to the work done by the members whose contracts have already expired,” he added.
From May 2014 till August 2016, the government had hired members of the Planning Commission. Since the contracts have expired, some of them have left their offices including Chief Economist Dr Nadeem Javaid.
Member Infrastructure and Regional Connectivity Malik Ahmad Khan and Member Governance and Reforms Syed Tahir Hijazi are among those still attending office.
“Out of the eleven posts, advertisements for three have already been given,” said Iqbal.
Technically, the posts had fallen vacant after the government decided to publish advertisements. Now, the government has decided to fill this vacuum by seeking the extension until September 15.
There are chances that some of the outgoing members will not apply for the posts, considering the re-advertisement as no confidence.
The Planning Minister believes the re-advertisement is necessary to ensure transparency, as these people were hired only for two years.
“Sadly, good people do not apply. Therefore, the government should hunt for talent to attract the best minds in the Planning Commission,” said Planning Commission Former Deputy Chairman Dr Nadeemul Haque.
“Advertisements often turn out to be barriers towards the entry of good professionals,” he added.
The developments are taking place at a time when the Ministry of Planning, Development & Reform is organising the CPEC Summit & Expo.
The event aims at enhancing awareness regarding business opportunities under CPEC, attracting local and foreign investments, and highlighting development opportunities. The summit also aims at focusing CPEC prospects in sectors like power, construction, dry port, Industrial parks and economic zones. Local and Chinese organisations, companies, ministries and CEOs involved in CPEC projects will attend the meetings.
A few days ago, the government advertised the posts of Member, Development Communication and Member Science and Technology. Professionals having a master’s degree and 15 year ‘distinguished professional career’ could apply for these posts. These members will be hired for a period of two years with an option to extend their contracts.
In addition to the PM and the planning minister, there are ten members of the commission including secretary planning and development division, member coordination, chief economist, director Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE), members of implementation and monitoring, social sectors, science and technology, energy, infrastructure, development communication and food and agriculture.
Courtesy : Express Tribune