New Pay Structure for Government Employees, High Level Meeting in Islamabad
Islamabad (September 10, 2012) – A high-level committee led by Dr Ishrat Husain is working on recommendations to bring drastic changes to the pay structure of government employees with a view to removing distortions, sources said on Saturday.
An important meeting in this regard is scheduled to be held today (Monday) under the chairmanship of the committee’s convener Husain and there are growing expectations that the committee will finalise unified pay scales for all government employees.
The huge distortions in pay structures can be gauged from the disclosure made during recent proceedings of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) when it was uncovered that a driver of the Supreme Court was getting a monthly salary of Rs50,000; a driver of the State Bank of Pakistan was getting a monthly salary of Rs90,000 while the drivers in all other ministries were getting monthly salaries of Rs10,000 each.
Background interviews with government officials suggest that several employees of the Presidency, Prime Minister’s Secretariat, Ministry of Finance, Federal Board of Revenue, Supreme Court, National Accountability Bureau and military personnel enjoy double salaries under the head of special allowances.
In FY-12, the government constituted this committee, which features six private sector members as well as federal secretaries from the Establishment Division, Finance Division and a few others.
The task before the committee was to remove distortions in the pay structure of the Pakistan Army, judiciary and other institutions within the government.
However, in the aftermath of the strike called by Accountant General Pakistan Revenues employees, said a committee member, the committee was also asked to consider unified pay scales for all government employees.
A committee member said the committee was working on removing existing distortions in the pay structure but its recommendations may not please the government, which is keeping the upcoming elections in mind.
Consequently, the committee members are not very optimistic about the fate of their recommendations. “What was done with our earlier recommendations regarding the monetisation of transport allowances?” asked one member. “Hefty allowances were offered to bureaucrats but the loopholes in the scheme resulted in the exploitation of the scheme and bureaucrats ended up using official cars despite getting cash allowances.”
Apart from the political considerations, the committee is also said to be cognisant of the fact that the government will have to incur significant costs in ensuring unified pay scales.Consequently, the sources said, the committee may consider merging ad-hoc allowances into basic pay scales to do away with the double salaries issue.
“There are numerous anomalies within the existing structure and the committee’s report, if implemented, could go a long way in rectifying the situation within the civil and military bureaucracy of the country,” said a committee member. However, a senior official of the Finance Division said the committee will take time to finalise its recommendations.
(Published in “TheNews” on 10-09-2012)