- Complacency and political exigency harm performance
Earlier this month Imran Khan had hinted at getting rid of the incompetent members in his cabinet and a possible reshuffle in portfolios. After a record setting nine hour long special cabinet meeting to assess the performance of ministers, ministers of state and PM’s advisers everyone surprisingly passed the exam, some getting A-plus. Had the SC not ordered action against Azam Swati, he too in all likelihood would have come through with flying colours. Imran Khan had warned that the country was passing through an abnormal situation and he expected all the ministers to display extraordinary performance. It would be sheer complacency to believe that the entire team had come up to the standard specified by the Captain.
The government has failed to take a single meaningful measure to expand the shrinking tax base, as revealed during the FBR briefing to PM last week. It has done nothing to make the extra-large trading community cough up. Political expediency stands in the way of the PTI government as it did during the PML-N tenure. A significant section of local industry, especially one connected with construction, has been forced to reduce production, bringing down its share in the taxes and adding to unemployment. Balochistan government has expressed dismay at lack of concern shown by federal government regarding province’s share in CPEC. It is ironic under the circumstances to award good performance certificates to every minister and claim that the foundation of Naya Pakistan has been laid. Reminds one of Bush declaring ‘mission accomplished’ in Iraq.
Was Imran Khan unwilling to take action against ill-performing cabinet members out of fear of alienating the allies and losing majority in the NA? He has given the team members targets for the next three months and has required them to submit implementation plans. Was he to surrender again to pressure from coalition partners he might not be able to achieve some of his priority objectives. The best way to get rid of the payoff is to take initiative to develop better working relations with the opposition which has repeatedly assured Khan it is not in its interest to try to remove the government before its mandated tenure.