The federal government has deferred the plan to empower the office of cabinet secretary as well as secretaries committee.
Sources said that the former advisor to Prime Minister, Dr. Isharat Hussain, had proposed the government to strengthen the office of cabinet secretary as well as secretaries committee forum, however, it has not been implemented so far.
Ishrat Hussain led a task force on austerity measures and government restructuring, which had approved the above-mentioned proposal in September, 2018.
“There is a widespread impression that federal government business suffers from a fragmented approach as consultation inter-se-among ministries/division is patchy, unsystematic and not as smooth or frequent as it should be. In addition, effective coordination is lacking and conflict resolution mechanisms among the ministries are not satisfactory”, the task force maintained.
The task force had proposed to strengthen the offices of the Cabinet Secretary and also make effective use of the Secretaries’ Committee in order to improve the quality of overall decision-making and relieve the highest decision-makers from the drudgery of mundane affairs of the state. Moreover, the second change is to tap on the collective wisdom and experience of the federal and provincial secretaries by making extensive use of the Secretaries Committee.
The present tendency of over-centralization of decision-making by pushing most of the problems and even straightforward issues in their lap can be curbed by delegating some specified powers of inter-ministerial coordination and dispute resolution to these committees.
This will strengthen the leadership qualities of the Secretaries as they will work as a collective team and force them to take decisions not on the basis of narrow considerations of protecting their turf but in the larger national interests.
If the federal cabinet approves these proposals, then the PM and CMs will be able to devote quality time to more contentious and difficult issues that cannot be resolved at the Secretaries level and to exercise strategic oversight.
It is pertinent to note that the role of the cabinet division is providing support for holding meetings of the cabinet, cabinet committees and promoting inter-ministerial / inter-divisional coordination through the Secretaries Committee.
The Cabinet division is also responsible for administrative structures of the government, ensuring adherence to the rules of business and monitoring implementation of decisions made by the cabinet and its committee. Similarly, the Establishment Division is responsible for all human resources and personnel management policies and their implementation in the public sector; both these divisions are under the direct control of the Prime Minister.
The task force also agreed that the role of these important Divisions, which constitute the Cabinet Secretariat, has dwindled with the passage of time and they are unable to perform their assigned functions efficiently and effectively.
Source: Pro Pakistani