ISLAMABAD - Describing the promulgation of NAB Amendment Ordinance as a “tough decision”, aimed at protecting bureaucracy and businessmen from the unnecessary pressures, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday sought the support of civil servants for the realization of 2020 as the year of growth and development.

“As we have to lift the country in the year 2020, I need your support in this respect,” he said while addressing a gathering of senior civil servants and bureaucrats here at the Prime Minister House.

The prime minister said that his government had never asked bureaucracy to take any illegal decision; rather contrary to the past, protected it.

He said that improvement in governance was inevitable to bring stability. “Wealth creation will be possible only if the industries are allowed to flourish,” the prime minister said.

PM Imran added that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) was meant to take action against the public office holders for misusing their authority while the business community had nothing to do with the public offices.

He said those who were criticising the NAB Amendment Ordinance should first understand NAB’s mandate.

The prime minister said that it was because of the fear of NAB that bureaucracy was reluctant to take decisions as the procedures involved risks and they (the bureaucrats) had been facing unnecessary pressure from the Bureau.

“In order to achieve the target of construction of five million houses,” the prime minister said, the government expected cooperation from the bureaucracy. “The present government’s ambitious housing programme would boost the 40 allied industries, create job opportunities and stimulate economic activity in the country,” he expressed the optimism.

The prime minister told the gathering that

2019 was a tough year for the government during which it focused on stabilization of economy through various macroeconomic measures which led to strengthening of rupee, restoration of investors’ confidence and improvement in the stock market, vital for running the wheels of economy.

The prime minister also spoke of the ‘bad economic situation’ his government had inherited, and said the country’s debt increased from Rs6 trillion to Rs30 trillion during 2008 to 2018.

“Half of the country’s revenue was used for debt-servicing alone,” the prime minister added.

Highlighting the importance of improved governance, Imran Khan said he expected the bureaucracy to achieve the standards and reputation of 1960s.

He described nine million Pakistani expatriates as assets for the country and pointed out that many among them, who were investors and small and media entrepreneurs, did not invest in their homeland - which offered a lot of opportunities-due to the impediments of poor governance and opted for other destinations.

Earlier, Advisor to the Prime Minister on Establishment Muhammad Shehzad Arbab, in his welcome remarks, said after the promulgation of NAB Amendment Ordinance, the government was also working on other areas of concern for the bureaucracy, including their capacity building and training; tenure protection and compensation package.