LAHORE - Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif has underscored the need of improving efficiency of the government departments so that people can be best served.

Addressing a meeting with regard to public sector management reforms here Wednesday, he said reforms would be introduced in the public departments to directly benefit the common man. He said a spirit of public service and determination was necessary for coming up to the expectations of the people and provision of best services to the masses.

Shahbaz said there was a need to march forward by taking solid measures for the betterment and prosperity of the people. He said self-accountability system would be evolved at every level for improving the performance of government departments and institutions. He declared that departments would be given task and their performance would be monitored regularly. The chief minister directed to constitute sub-committees for improving performance of government departments and added that an effective system of punishment and encouragement would have to be enforced.

He said positive changes would be brought for improving the system. Shahbaz said a mechanism would be evolved for reviewing the performance of officers, officials and government departments regularly so that honest and hard working officers and officials could be encouraged and those showing poor performance could be held accountable. Shahbaz underlined the need for positive changes in the system for best service delivery according to the wishes and aspirations of the people. He said there was a need of doing a lot of work for providing clean drinking water, access to higher education and provision of health facilities for which an effective and comprehensive system would be evolved. He said that there was a need to benefit from information technology for promoting e-governance in government institutions. It was high time to provide best service delivery system to the people so that their problems could be resolved immediately, he said. Shahbaz stressed the need to work as a team so that a prosperous, developed and peaceful society could be constituted. Additional chief secretary gave a briefing about public sector management reforms.

Meanwhile, presiding over another meeting to review the pace of work on different development projects, he asked the public departments to complete the development projects on time to provide facilities, relief and comfort to the masses.

He said government was implementing a comprehensive programme for the welfare and betterment of the people and funds to the tune of billions of rupees had been provided for these projects.

The chief minister said the PML-N government, in the light of its manifesto, was speedily working on a number of public welfare projects wherein transparency, standard and speed were being strictly monitored through a foolproof system. He said government was serving the people of the province honestly for the last about six years and Punjab would be made a model province. He said corruption-free culture had been promoted in Punjab and national resources were being spent on the progress and prosperity of the masses with honesty and commitment.

He said progress and welfare of the people was very close to his heart and the concerned departments should spare no effort for the timely completion of public welfare projects.

Separately, Sri Lankan High Commissioner Air Chief Marshall (R) Jayalath Weerakkody called on Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif here on Wednesday. Matters of mutual interest and bilateral relations were discussed in the meeting.

Both the dignitaries on the occasion also agreed to further cement ties and increase cooperation in various areas in addition to exchange of delegations in trade and professional fields.

Talking to Sri Lankan High Commissioner, the chief minister highlighted the existing strong friendly relations between Pakistan and Sri Lanka and said still there was a need for strengthening economic ties as well as cooperation in health and education sectors between the two countries. He said both the countries should make joint efforts for the betterment of the people and there should be maximum exchange of delegations between the two countries.

He said that Pakistan desires strong and stable relations among the SAARC countries and Sri Lanka was an important member of that forum. The chief minister also mentioned with gratitude the Sri Lankan cooperation to Punjab during the worst outbreak of dengue in 2010-11. He informed that South Asia Labour Conference was being arranged in Lahore for strengthening contacts among SAARC countries.

Mr Jayalath Weerakkody agreed with the chief minister that efforts should be made for strengthening bilateral ties between Pakistan and Sri Lanka. He said Sri Lanka wanted to strengthen economic relations with Pakistan. He said Punjab was an important province where the government was serving the masses in an effective manner. He said he was deeply impressed with the development vision of Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif. He also invited Shahbaz to visit Sri Lanka.