Imran Khan speaks during a budget session in the National Assembly in Islamabad. File
Tariq Butt, Correspondent
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan says his government has to take its governance performance to much higher levels in the remaining time of its five-year tenure and told his ministers that the time for performance has arrived.
He was addressing a special ceremony to sign performance agreements of the federal government for the Year 2020-21 attended by ministers and special assistants. The federal ministers signed performance agreements with the premier.
"We will put pressure on ourselves to take our governance performance to much higher levels in our remaining two-and-a-quarter years," Imran said. "We no longer have an excuse that we're new and are learning because most of us came into power for the first time. The time for performance has arrived.”
The prime minister termed the signing of performance agreements a step in the right direction, and said the performance of each ministry will be evaluated based on the contracts and every ministry will put pressure on itself to meet its targets.
"After all, the public has to decide after five years whether we made their lives better or not; whether we fulfilled the promises made to them or not," he said, stressing that governance could not be delivered unless all ministries performed individually.
Noting that presidents and prime ministers in the United States and United Kingdom were given detailed briefings about all government departments before they took office, Imran said he virtually had no time to prepare before assuming office and the first three months were spent understanding the state of affairs. He said the system should be tweaked so the incoming government was briefed and given time to prepare for governance before it started functioning formally.
He said the devolution of power following the 18th Amendment had also created governance problems that needed to be rectified. Citing an example, he said food security fell within the federal government's domain but all the power had been delegated to provinces, with the effect that if one province refused to follow the Centre and devised its own policy, the resulting price differential of commodities like wheat distorted prices across the country.
"We had a very difficult two years. We didn't have foreign exchange and couldn't pay our debts. We have avoided a huge crisis because we didn't default (payments). But I know it hasn't been easy for the people, I understand the difficulties they faced and still are facing,” he said in a televised address to the nation.
The prime minister expressed dissatisfaction over the performance of the current local governments and said a system was being introduced at the village level under which funds would be transferred directly to the councils.
For quite some time, the area became a battleground between the police and protesters. The government servants had planned the protest for the past two weeks and had made announcements to the effect.
The prime minister said that blessings and prosperity came from God but it was up to humans to make the effort for them. He called upon the public to participate and donate to the programme with charity before Ramadan.
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“SP will be missed…may his memory is a blessing… we all continue to be inspired by his life and ideals,” Sheikh Nahyan said. “I greatly admired his wisdom and generosity, and I continue to marvel at all that was accomplished by him,” Sheikh Nahyan added.