Monday, 8 February 2010

Why are Professional appointments not made in Pakistan!

For 5 years the position of the Chief Economist of the Planning Commission has been vacant. The PIDE Director/Vice Chancellor has served in an “acting” capacity! Why "acting?" And how do you keep someone in an "acting" position for years? Is that good governance?

Every few months the government runs expensive ads (the most recent is produced below). They seem to be content with placing the ad! There is no serious effort then made to fill the position.

This is not the only position this has happened with. The SECP position too was left vacant for many months on a number of occasions.

The government seems to find it very hard to find professional economists. Why is this so? I would welcome your views on this subject!

I would like to point out that very few senior positions are filled by the mere placement of an ad! Often this is a matter for a search committee and serious effort by several competent people to seek an ideal candidate and persuade him or her to accept the proposed position. Since the government is unwilling to form such a search committee and seek out serious people, perhaps it should stop wasting tax-payer's money on such ads! (Even when they form a search committee they will pick on the most well known establishment figures who in turn will find a very well known non-professional or a house-broken professional who will not rock the boat.) No wonder the government seems to have no fresh thinking.

Here is the wording of the Advertisement for the Chief Economist with some comments in red!

1. Pakistan Planning Commission is the premier Government institution entrusted with overall development, planning and policy making of the country. Chief Economist plays a pivotal role in devising economic plans, strategies, and to review the overall economic and development situation. He is also Member of the Planning Commission and reports directly to the Chairman of the Planning Commission.

Note the sexist “he should be…”

2. Planning Commission requires the services of a professional (Pakistani National) of International standing for appointment as Chief Economist. The pay package based on qualification and experience will be negotiable. We are looking for a condition with: Ph.D Degree in Economics from a reputed university recognized by the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan.

Note recognized by HEC…not international repute.

3. At least 25 years experience in economic planning and management covering the fields such as macroeconomics, fiscal and monetary policies, trade and finance, poverty and income distribution and economic statistics & forecasting.

25 years…..they want an old man! No fresh thinking. But that has always been the case in Pakistan! We have always had old men in policymaking!

4. Proven track record of research. Publications on socio-economic issues in national and international journals of repute. Expertise to carry out review of economic situation in the country and to formulate appropriate economic policies.


5. Application including CV and major accomplishments may be sent electronically or directly to the address below, within fifteen days of publication of this announcement.


6. Planning Commission will contact the shortlisted candidates for interview.

The Ad also forgets to mention the Chief Economist reports to the Secretary Planning and has no control over the Planning division.