WB wants say in Pak bureaucrats’ postings

Islamabad, August 22:

After funding a $22 million (Rs 1.3 billion Pakistani Currency) training scheme for Pakistani bureaucrats, the World Bank (WB) now wants a say in their postings, even as doubts are being cast about the efficacy of the project.

The first batch of 125 bureaucrats sent abroad for training under the Public Sector Capacity Building programme (PSCBP) are due back next month. The Bank’s Pakistan office has approached the establishment division to work out their placement through mutual consultation, Dawn reported.

However, apprehensions are being expressed whether the programme would yield the desired results against the backdrop of the fact that the government rushed in to use the World Bank loan without determining its training requirements.

“Complaints about the selection procedure are quite common. The government has yet to explain why the number of officers to be sent abroad for training annually was cut down from 125 to 75,” Dawn reported, “So far, the grant is being utilized for capacity buil-ding of the officials in the areas of their own choice, irrespective to specific ne-eds of government departments.”

“The qualified officials, therefore, may claim personal accomplishment, but their added qualification is of no use for their departments concerned or the country,” the newspaper reported.

The scheme was primarily meant for addressing the capacity and technical skills gap in the civil service. Two projects — the Executive Development Programme (EDP) and the Professional Development Programme (PDEV) — were initiated. It was argued in bureaucratic circles that the basic premise to obtain a loan from the World Bank was the steadily declining technical competence and inferior quality of the entry-level officers in civil service.