Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday signed two-year performance agreements with his cabinet ministers. The performance agreements are a manifestation of the incumbent PM’s vision of transforming the governance system of Pakistan and are a part of the PTI supremo’s Civil Service reform agenda.
Speaking at the occasion, the Prime Minister congratulated Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on Establishment Shehzad Arbab on spearheading the process of revolutionizing the governance system via the performance agreements.
Prime Minister Imran Khan stressed the need for ministers to not only meet their targets, but also strive for greater achievements.
Elaborating on his experience as Pakistan’s Cricket team’s captain, he told the audience that player who only set their sights on achieving fame and earning good money never excelled beyond a certain limit, while those who set out for greatness never failed at achieving it.
He further added that results are what matter and are the basis on which any party gets elected. He informed his ministers that he had evaluated them under all circumstances and their re-election was subject to the party’s performance and not their individual development spending in their constituencies.
What is Performance Agreement?
Performance agreement is a first in many steps to improve the performance of the ministries and the bureaucracy. The absence of a baseline performance indicator at the institutional level was regarded as a key impediment to fully tap the potential of Pakistan’s bureaucracy.
It is famously said- Reform is a process, not an event
I am happy that a small team was able to steer a reform process that is changing the way public sector works in Pakistan. pic.twitter.com/Y6c0ZyDXxy
— Shehzad Arbab (@ShahzadArbab1) September 22, 2021
This led the incumbent government to introduce the performance agreement system under which each ministry sets quarterly targets as a benchmark of the minimum level of performance during the allocated time span. This not only helps the ministries keep a track of their targets, but also helps the Prime Minister to gauge the performance of the ministries.
Stages of Development
The performance management system was initially approved in September 2019 and was put through a trial phase for two quarters beginning in December 2019 with eleven ministries, based on a mix of mandates. The trial phase exposed many of the shortcomings in the system, but also depicted its effectiveness.
The eleven ministries that were chosen for the stress test were Climate Change, Commerce, Communication, Education, Energy, Health, Housing and Works, Industries, Information Technology, National Food Security, and Water Resources.
The Peer Review Committee – led by the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission and comprising of officials from four ministries, namely Cabinet, Establishment, Finance and Planning – was also formed to analyze and rationalize the targets of the ministry before the pilot phase. After the endorsement of the system from the cabinet, the PRC worked with all the ministries to draw up the performance agreements.
The results for the two quarters following December 2019 revealed the need for all ministries to work in a synchronized manner. Taking this into account, this system has been made flexible enough to ensure smooth inter-ministerial working. Furthermore, this system has incorporated a culture of rolling out clear future agendas in all ministries.
For FY21, a total of 40 ministries and divisions had prepared their agreements. More than 1,300 reform, policy, development, and administrative initiatives were outlined for accomplishment through 6,000 targets, identified on a quarterly basis. The document unveiled today, has a total of 1,090 initiatives and targets for all ministries, of which 426 are to be completed in FY22, 488 in FY23 and 176 running initiatives, supplementing the overall delivery of ministries across the two years, and beyond.