Govt shares plan to restructure institutions

ISLAMABAD: Adviser to the Prime Minister on Institutional Reforms Dr Ishrat Hussain on Friday said that Prime Minister Imran Khan has directed him to make appointments in public institutions on merit.

“We have devised a transparent process for appointments in various institutions,” he said while addressing a presser alongside Information Minister Shibli Faraz.

The adviser said that although appointments on merit is not a new process in Pakistan, yet when implemented it would yield positive results.

“PM Imran Khan is personally looking after promotions in BPS 21 and 22,” he said adding that the selection board had promoted public office holders on these grades on merit recently against a past trend where people got promotions without having any qualifications.

Speaking over tax reforms, Dr Ishrat Hussain said that they plan to bring changes in the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) in order to improve the revenues.

“Bringing automation in the FBR is our top priority,” he said while shedding light as to how the tax refund process has been overhauled and saw a refund of Rs 250 billion, which went directly into the accounts of the exporters.

“We are trying to bring more people on the tax next through data integration,” he said, adding that a time would come when taxation would be lowered owing to a large number of people paying their taxes. The adviser said that there are thousands of registered companies in the country but none of them have declared their assets.

Speaking on the restructuring of Pakistan Railways, the adviser on institutional reforms said that they are working on safety and minimising accidents in railways. “We are dividing railways into five separate companies,” he said, adding that the ML-1 project would be operated by a company, other than the incumbent railways’ department.

There would be a company for ML-1, a freight company, and a passenger company, he said adding that all of them would deal with separate aspects of the transport service. “One of the companies will be held by the government,” he said.

Speaking over the restructuring process of the Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM), Dr Ishrat Hussain said that 1200 acres of the mills’ land would be leased out while the remaining would be held by the government. “We will take measures to bring the Pakistan Steel Mills on its feet,” he said.

Sharing the reforms process in the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), the adviser said that the national flag carrier had a debt of Rs 550 billion besides also incurring losses of Rs 450 billion.

“We plan to lower the number of employees in the PIA, he said while sharing that out of 500 employees for a plane, 250 would be removed, giving them an option of voluntary retirement from service in exchange for a monetary benefit.” He further said that they also plan to operate PIA planes on profitable routes in order to revamp the national flag-carrier. - TLTP