Proceedings & Findings of the Committee
On August 23, 2000, the Cabinet decided that Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission, would head a central committee to restructure and rightsized the Federal Ministries/Divisions. It was also decided that each Ministry/Division would set up a Sub-committee of its own to report to the central committee. in pursuance of the Cabinet decision, Ministries/Divisions notified their own sub-committees, while the Cabinet Division notified the “Committee on Restructuring and Rightsizing (CRR) of the Federal Ministries/Divisions”. The CRR was asked to submit its findings and recommendations to the Chief Executive of Pakistan by November 1, 2000.
In all, the CRR held 18 meetings, beginning with the first on September 2, 2000. The CRR also set up a Sub-Committee to examine the staff entitlement of the officers. Except for the Defense and Defense Production Divisions, which are undergoing internal reviews and Foreign Affairs and Revenue Divisions which have their own independent restructuring and rightsizing exercises underway, the remaining 30 Divisions of the Federal Government made their presentations before the committee, largely by concerned Secretaries in person and, only in very few cases of inevitability, by their seconds-in-command. These were, in turn, the outcome of their internal discussions and dialogue, facilitated by the RR Sub-Committee of the Division. In the light of the discussions held with the Committee, the secretaries of the Divisions revised their proposals and submitted the same to the committee. the findings and recommendations of the CRR have emerged from these participatory deliberations, based on communication, dialogue, listening and adjustment.
The Committee strictly conformed to its terms of reference i.e. to restructure the Divisions and rightsized accordingly. It did go into the question of appropriateness of the present number of Division and has make recommendations regarding their merger with other Divisions.
The CRR feel that the motivation to restructure and rightsized is to improve productivity and impart service orientation. The reform process is driven by the imperative of producing more services with less tax money. The objective is productivity and not a thoughtless rush into downsizing and curtailment of public expenditure. The later can, and has, reduced productivity. That is why many past efforts at reform either failed or were non-states. In the Federal Budget for 2000-2001, the amount proposed to be spent on the pay and allowances of the less than 15,000 employees of all the Federal Divisions is less than 1 percent of the total current expenditure as well as revenue of the Federal Government. In 1997, the year for which comparable figures are available, the total expenditure on the waged and salaries of the central government was 5.06 percent of GDP in Sri Lanka, 4.96 percent in Malaysia, 2.49 percent in UK, 1.75 percent in India and only 0.85 percent in Pakistan.
Thus with budgets already reduced to the bare minimum, blanket downsizing can only deteriorate productivity. The objective rather should be service orientation. This requires a change in culture to ensure better connectivity with citizens, which is achievable by investing in training of government servants and designing of public programmes from the point of view of citizens i.e. the service recipients.
Public sector reform is much more than seeing the market alternatives Competitive markets often do not exist for government services. Many of these services have social goals that would frustrate full reliance on the markets. A viable strategy is to push operational decisions closer to the front lines; to focus those decisions on results rather than on processes; to increase by testing government’s processes against private markets; to increase the responsiveness of government to its citizens; and to increase the capacity of government to manage effectively.