Cabinet refuses contract extension for PQA chief

Cabinet refuses contract extension for PQA chief

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ISLAMABAD: The cabinet has turned down a proposal floated by the Maritime Affairs Division for extension in the appointment contract of existing chairman of the Port Qasim Authority (PQA) and has issued directives for immediately publishing advertisements to find out a suitable candidate for the post.

As the current PML-N government is approaching the end of its tenure in the middle of current calendar year, heads of the PQA, National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) have made frantic efforts to win contract extensions. However, the government seems to be in no mood to grant extensions.

Earlier, in the cases of NADRA and PTA chairmen too, the cabinet dismissed the requests for contract extension and called for inviting applications through publication of advertisements.

The Maritime Affairs Division sought a three-year extension in the contract for PQA Chairman Agha Jan Akhtar in a cabinet meeting held in the first week of current month.

During the huddle, it was revealed that the Ministry of Maritime Affairs had sent a summary to the prime minister with the proposal that Akhtar’s tenure as PQA chairman may be extended for three more years with effect from December 28, 2017 on existing terms and conditions of MP-1 scale.

Though the prime minister approved, in principle, the proposal, he desired that the matter should be placed as a priority before the cabinet.

The ministry told the cabinet that Akhtar was a retired officer of the Pakistan Administrative Service who had made substantial improvements in the operational and financial status of Port Qasim. He also introduced good governance by streamlining human resources and financial matters at the port.

PQA’s total revenue, which was Rs7.3 billion in 2013-14, increased to Rs14 billion in 2016-17 and accordingly its profit jumped from Rs875 million to Rs3.4 billion during the same period.

Important projects like two liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals, a power generation plant at Port Qasim, a navigational channel, a jetty and the Pakistan International Bulk Terminal had been completed during his tenure, the ministry said.

It was argued in the meeting that the term re-appointment had been misinterpreted and it had already been decided by the federal cabinet and prime minister in the cases of NADRA and PTA chairmen. Accordingly, the posts had been advertised.

The cabinet considered the summary and directed that the post of PQA chief may be advertised immediately and the process may be completed in the minimum possible time.

Courtesy-The Express Tribune, January 17th, 2018.

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