Yet to be resolved: GHPL MD’s 3-year term ends without release of ‘disputed’ pay

Published: October 11, 2017
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GHPL, working with the objective of pouring investment to increase petroleum production, is among top five petroleum exploration and production companies in Pakistan with a share of 43,500 barrels of oil equivalent per day. PHOTO: FILE

GHPL, working with the objective of pouring investment to increase petroleum production, is among top five petroleum exploration and production companies in Pakistan with a share of 43,500 barrels of oil equivalent per day. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: The managing director of Government Holdings Private Limited (GHPL) has completed his three-year stint and left office without getting paid for the entire period in the wake of a dispute over his high pay package, sources say.

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi refused to give extension to GHPL Managing Director Shahid Islam following the dispute over remuneration of Rs10 million per month, the highest among what is received by heads of other energy companies in Pakistan.

Sources told The Express Tribune that Shahid created hurdles in the way of settling issues with a joint venture of oil and gas exploration companies and tried to block the release of funds to subsidiary companies like Inter State Gas Systems, Pakistan LNG Terminal Limited and Pakistan LNG Limited.

They cited a complaint made to the premier by the joint venture, which said the GHPL managing director was not cooperating with exploration companies that were in trouble while settling affairs with GHPL, which works under the Petroleum Division and invests in petroleum exploration and production.

“He lacked interest in GHPL’s financial and operational affairs due to the salary dispute which left the company and its subsidiaries handicapped,” a source said, adding the row between the GHPL managing director and the Petroleum Division had deepened as the former warned of taking legal action over the delay in release of his pay package.

A committee had also been constituted to examine the matter and it would submit its report containing recommendations for the MD’s pay to the new GHPL board of directors.

The new board was not willing to endorse the high pay package, consequently the flow of funds to the company’s new subsidiaries – Pakistan LNG Terminal Limited and Pakistan LNG Limited – had been stopped.

Questions had also been raised over his hiring as he did not apply for the slot and was 64 years of age, which was above the set limit, at that time.

Earlier, the former GHPL board approved the Rs10-million monthly pay package and sent it for approval of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif. However, Sharif held back his nod and directed the board to take up the matter again.

Later, the reconstituted board did not back the decision of the former board and suggested that the pay package should be in the range of Rs1.1 to Rs1.5 million. Now, a committee is examining the remuneration.

The managing director of Pakistan State Oil (PSO), a relatively bigger state-owned company that markets oil across the country, receives a pay package of Rs5 million, which is half of what had been offered to Shahid.

In a letter to then petroleum minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on August 24, 2016, the GHPL MD argued that continuous failure of the company to clear his dues on account of salary and emoluments, which had already been legally determined and approved, constituted a breach of contract and could provide him a cause for action against GHPL.

During Shahid’s tenure, the company started facing financial crunch. Earlier, the company had been running in profit over the years, but it later faced a circular debt of Rs37 billion.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 11th, 2017.

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