Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday awarded appreciation certificates to the "top 10 best performing federal ministries" under his government, with the communications ministry, planning ministry and poverty alleviation division getting top honours of first, second and third respectively.
The top 10 ministries recognised for their performance at a ceremony held in Islamabad were as follows :
- Ministry of Communications (Murad Saeed)
- Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives (Asad Umar)
- Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (Dr Sania Nishtar)
- Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training (Shafqat Mahmood)
- Ministry of Human Rights headed (Dr Shireen Mazari)
- Ministry of Industries and Production headed (Khusro Bakhtiar)
- National Security Division headed (Dr Moeed Yusuf)
- Ministry of Commerce (Abdul Razak Dawood)
- Ministry of Interior (Sheikh Rashid Ahmed)
- Ministry of National Food Security and Research (Syed Fakhar Imam)
The ministries with a performance score of 80 per cent and over were also highlighted in the function.
Addressing the function, the prime minister singled out Saeed for praise as his ministry came out on top despite his young age.
The premier hailed the initiative as a "great opportunity" since every ministry would get to know how much the others worked. "Our ministries will get incentives to work hard, the more we publicise this," he added.
The prime minister said that when "marks" — referring to a story from his own days as a student — would be publicised and there would be a corresponding system of rewards and penalties, it would bring an improvement in the governance system's performance.
He said that no system without rewards and penalties could be successful, giving the example of performance gaps in private and public hospitals.
"When I came [into power] I had very revolutionary ideas to bring sudden changes but I realised our system doesn't have the capability to absorb sudden shocks [and only by] incentivising will we bring positive changes in our bureaucracy and ministries."
Giving his recommendations, the premier said the criteria should be further refined and increased weight should be given to how can a ministry improve its performance to benefit national interest and to bringing "out-of-box solutions" to common problems.
The premier said the appraisal would be a quarterly affair, bonuses would be given on its basis, also adding that in future the top 10 ministries should not be announced beforehand so as to ensure the attendance of all federal ministers.
The Prime Minister's Office said the rewards were being distributed in accordance with "The Performance Agreement" signed with the federal ministries in which targets were set for them.
It said the agreement would help to improve performance, meet targets, address public issues, formulate effective policy and compile the data needed for good governance.
The PMO added that the main purpose behind the agreement was to evaluate the performance of ministries, enforce a system of rewards and penalties for government officials and improve service delivery.
Federal minister Fawad Chaudhry, whose own Ministry of Information and Broadcasting was missing in the top 10, congratulated the award recipients.
Explaining the snub of his ministry, he said performance was measured on the basis of implementation of projects that the ministries submitted to the PMO. Chaudhry added he had modified some projects which would provide more positive results next time.
'PM has no-confidence in remaining cabinet members'
Meanwhile, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said that PM Imran had distributed certificates among his ten favourite ministers, which meant that he had expressed "no-confidence" in the rest of the members of the federal cabinet.
Addressing a workers' convention in Multan, Bilawal said that the prime minister was busy distributing certificates among his ministers when he should be focusing on solving the people's issues.
He vowed that the people of Pakistan would show PM Imran the reality of his government's performance. "The certificate that you will receive from the people in the [next] elections, you suffered a trailer of that in the by-elections," he said.
He went on to say that the prime minister had done great "injustice" with Multan. "He has the biggest cabinet in the country's history, but only 10 of his ministers are deserving of praise."
Bilawal said that the communications minister, Murad Saeed, was awarded a certificate even though he failed to work on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
In an apparent reference to Asad Umar, he said that another minister from Karachi was fired and then kicked out from one ministry, but was now looking after the planning ministry.
He noted that Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi was not given a certificate, reiterating that it was an "injustice with Multan". "On one hand they praise Pakistan's foreign policy [...] if it is so successful then where is the certificate?" he asked.
PPP Vice President Sherry Rehman blew off the entire move as a "joke with the nation". "The government's three-year performance is full of mismanagement, corruption and failures," she said in a statement. "There is a crisis situation in every ministry."
Rehman said there were question marks over the performance of several ministries, quipping whether any ministry was devoid of blame for creating a crisis.
The senator said the prime minister could "certainly give appreciation certificates to ministers over excellent performance in cursing and accusing [the opposition]".
"The nation will now give its opinion on the performance of the government and the ministers through the vote," the senator said.