Strong economy sans decision-making, leadership


ISLAMABAD: Influential global and national media echoed the PML government’s offer to leading professionals to “ignite energy sector with your vision and experience” a week after taking oath last year.
“We are looking for competent and high caliber individuals to head the following state-owned organizations as MDs/CEOs: Sui Northern Gas Pipeline Limited, Oil and Gas Development Company Limited, Saindak Metals Limited, Sui Southern Gas Company Limited, Government Holding Private Ltd, Inter State Gas Systems Limited, Hydrocarbon Development Institute Pakistan, Lakhra Coal Development Company, Pakistan State Oil Company Limited, Pakistan Mineral Development Company and Pakistan Petroleum Limited,” read an information ministry advertisement published  June 28, 2013.
AF Ferguson & Co, a member firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers network, duly screened initial applications, shortlisted the better ones and interviewed. “I was interviewed thrice before various set of interviewees,” says one seasoned energy sector professional, with an extensive field and management experience outside Pakistan.
The last time, he was summoned for such an evaluation was in January.
“Though my name remains in the top five sent to the ministry, there is eerie radio silence on their end,” says a retired official, with impressive career record.
Interestingly, the government advertisement clearly referred to the Supreme Court verdict in the light of which it had constituted a three-member independent commission, headed by Mr Abdul Rauf Chaudhry, the federal tax ombudsman (FTO), for hiring the new chief executive officers, chairmen or managing directors of such enterprises of not just the 11 energy sector organizations but a total of 28 state-owned enterprises or Pakistan state enterprises (SOEs/PSEs).
The commission faced a serious handicap when Rauf Chaudhry was sent on leave to avoid a standoff with the SC.  Meanwhile the law ministry advised the government against heeding to the commission for those public sector organisations listed with the SECP or covered under company law. Despite the advice, the hiring never went any further while the seasoned experts awaiting the final interview are losing interest. More importantly, the government has already wasted 10 months in apathy towards energy woes, set to worsen in the months ahead.

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Aaj Kal