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Monday, July 15, 2024

PM Orders Immediate Dissolution of Pakistan Public Works Department

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif orders the immediate dissolution of the Pakistan Public Works Department (Pak PWD) due to longstanding poor performance and corruption, aiming for better efficiency and accountability in federal infrastructure projects.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has ordered the immediate dissolution of the Pakistan Public Works Department (Pak PWD) due to longstanding poor performance and corruption. This decision was made during a high-level meeting aimed at reducing government expenditures and infrastructure size.

Established in 1854 by Lord Dalhousie and renamed after independence, Pak PWD has historically managed a wide spectrum of federal building and infrastructure projects. However, PM Shehbaz noted that the department has failed to achieve its objectives, necessitating a re-evaluation of its role and efficiency.

The meeting was attended by senior government officials, including Deputy Prime Minister Ishaq Dar, Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal, Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb, and Economic Affairs Minister Ahad Khan Cheema.

The Prime Minister’s Adviser on Political Affairs, Rana Sanaullah, and Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Jehanzeb Khan were also present. During the meeting, officials presented a report compiled by a committee led by Jehanzeb Khan, recommending the abolition of certain government entities and the merger of others to streamline operations and cut costs.

Government’s Strategic Realignment

The Pak PWD has been responsible for executing federally funded works, acquiring and developing federal lands, and maintaining government buildings, excluding those financed by the defense budget.

This includes high-profile sites such as the Prime Minister’s Secretariat, Supreme Court Judges Enclave, and state guest houses in Lahore and Karachi. The department also managed federal lodges and provided technical advice to the federal government on engineering matters. Despite its extensive mandate, the department has been plagued by inefficiencies and allegations of corruption, leading to its current predicament.

Prime Minister Shehbaz emphasized the need for an alternate mechanism to handle development projects previously managed by Pak PWD. The proposed dissolution aligns with broader efforts to reduce government expenditures and improve operational efficiency.

The high-level committee’s report, which advocated for the elimination and merger of various government entities, was central to these discussions. The prime minister has directed the committee to finalize further recommendations to ensure a smooth transition and continued oversight of federal infrastructure projects.

Future Mechanisms for Development Projects

The dissolution of Pak PWD marks a significant shift in how federal infrastructure projects will be managed in Pakistan. The department’s extensive network, including positions such as the Director General, Chief Engineer (Planning), Chief Admin Officer, and Chief Architect, will be restructured to fit new operational models. The government aims to establish a more transparent and effective framework to oversee these critical projects, ensuring better use of public funds and enhanced project outcomes.

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Prime Minister Shehbaz’s directive is part of a broader strategy to combat corruption and inefficiency within federal departments. By streamlining operations and adopting new mechanisms for project management, the government hopes to foster a more accountable and results-driven approach. This move is expected to not only reduce wastage of resources but also to enhance the quality and timeliness of federal infrastructure projects.

In conclusion, the immediate dissolution of Pak PWD reflects the government’s commitment to reform and efficiency. With a focus on strategic realignment and better governance, Pakistan aims to improve its public infrastructure management and set a precedent for accountability and performance in the public sector.