Beneficiaries of past corrupt system opposing EVMs: Imran

Published September 23, 2021
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan speaks at the performance agreements signing ceremony on Wednesday.—APP
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan speaks at the performance agreements signing ceremony on Wednesday.—APP

• Asks cabinet members to focus on achieving targets
• Calls for timely release of funds for highway projects
• SAPM says 41 ministries have prepared 1,100 initiatives for next two years
• $2.3bn deposited in 204,000 Roshan Digital Accounts

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday said that those who had benefited from the corrupt system of the past were now afraid of “change”, which was why they were opposing the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) in the next elections.

He said the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) would not win (the polls) due to its development activities and funds but because of the promises the party made when it came to power in 2018.

“Every election held in the country was later made controversial; even the Senate polls in which 1,500 candidates took part became controversial,” the prime minister said while addressing a ceremony held to sign the two-year performance agreements (2021-23) with federal ministers.

“We are bringing in a new (election) system which will resolve all problems. However, those who had benefited from the corrupt system are opposing it,” he said.

The prime minister said the high-performance delivery in the next two years would pave the way for the government to succeed in the 2023 elections.

“Do not compromise on your vision,” he added.

Lauding the government’s performance, PM Khan urged his cabinet members to stay focused on achieving the targets and make the party stronger through performance delivery.

“We are ensuring that during our tenure, all promises are met and all services delivered to the citizens,” he said.

The signing was part of the prime minister’s comprehensive Civil Service Reforms Agenda, under which the government had initiated a management system that brought the entire federal government together through a single implementation tool of ‘Performance Agreements’.

“I want our party to achieve a standard where an MNA (member of National Assembly) wins, not on the basis of disbursement of development funds, but on the performance of the government,” he said.

Prime Minister Khan asked the heads of ministries to achieve the performance goals by setting high aspirations and evaluation of their own highs and lows.

He said his government effectively tackled the challenges of Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on the economy.

Mr Khan said the “biggest challenge” was the persistent fight against mafias that wanted a status quo for their vested interests.

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Establishment Shehzad Arbab said a total of 41 ministries had prepared 1,100 initiatives for the next two years.

“Of these, 426 initiatives will be completed by June 2022 and 488 by June 2023 whereas 176 running initiatives will supplement the overall delivery of ministries for the next two years and beyond,” Mr Arbab said.

He said the performance agreements had been finalised after a rigorous process of review and evaluation, adding that the exercise not only allowed the government to implement its agenda more effectively but also helped the ministers and secretaries to track progress within their divisions and objectively assess performance of their officers.

Under the performance agreements, all ministries have prepared work plans with a set of initiatives and quarterly targets to be achieved over the next two years.

These work plans have been reviewed by the Peer Review Committee (comprising senior officials of cross-sectoral ministries) for improvement and the feedback incorporated by the ministries before submission to the PM Office.

The process of quarterly performance review will enable the prime minister to keep track of his government’s performance.

This system will not only help ministries set their annual work plans but also create space to embed the reform agenda into the government’s system.

The targets collectively reviewed quarterly through a digitised platform will play a key role in identifying bottlenecks and addressing cross-ministerial coordination challenges.

PM reviews NHA projects

Prime Minister Khan directed timely release of funds for the highway projects to ensure connectivity, trade and employment opportunities.

Chairing a meeting held to review progress on projects under the National Highway Authority (NHA), Mr Khan said roads played a vital role in economic development.

He said roads of good standard would also reduce the cost of vehicle maintenance and import of petroleum products, adding that he would personally review progress on important and major communication projects on a daily basis.

The meeting was attended by federal Minister for Communications Murad Saeed, Minister for Planning Asad Umar, Special Assistant Dr Shahbaz Gill, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Jahanzeb Khan, the NHA chairman and senior officials.

Giving a comparative review, Murad Saeed said only 645km of roads were built by the previous government in 2013 and 2014 while 1,753km of roads had been completed in the three years of the present government.

He said in terms of planning, only 858km of roads were completed in three years of the previous government compared to the 6,118km of roads completed during the same period of the present government.

The meeting was informed that NHA would complete 27 projects in this fiscal year, with more than 3,000km long roads being built in Balochistan.

It was highlighted that as per the prime minister’s vision of self-reliance, the projects were being completed through public-private partnerships instead of loans.

Roshan Digital Accounts

PM Khan was told that $2.3 billion had so far been deposited in 204,000 Roshan Digital Accounts (RDAs) opened by overseas Pakistanis.

This information was shared with the prime minister by State Bank of Pakistan Governor Dr Reza Baqir, who called on him.

Dr Baqir briefed the prime minister about economic revival as well as the digital and current accounts, informing him that the number of digital accounts was increasing by around 1,000 per day.

Mr Khan said increase in the number of Roshan Digital Accounts reflected the confidence of overseas Pakistanis in the government’s policies.

Meanwhile, Sindh Governor Imran Ismail and Senator Saifullah Niazi also called on the prime minister.

They discussed progress in the ongoing federal government’s development projects in Karachi. The inauguration of Karachi Circular Railway after its completion also came under discussion.

Published in Dawn, September 23rd, 2021

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