ISLAMABAD: The secretaries’ committee has recommended giving 100% increase in basic salaries to all employees currently working in the Pak Secretariat –seat of federal bureaucracy –aimed at retaining the talent and offsetting impact of high inflation.
The committee on Thursday made the recommendation to Prime Minister Imran Khan to implement the raise in the basic salaries for the employees serving at Pak Secretariat –the seat of the federal bureaucracy –with effect from January 1.
The secretaries’ committee –a formal forum of heads of all federal divisions, took the decision on the basis of a report prepared by Secretary Establishment Division, Secretary Cabinet and Secretary Finance. The increase has been proposed on the basis of 2017 basic pay scales.
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Advisor to Prime Minister on Institutional Reforms Dr Ishrat Husain had suggested giving executive allowance to only grade 17-22 officers.
However, it was decided by the secretaries’ committee that the increase should be given to all the federal government employees working in the Pak Secretariat, excluding those who are already availing additional allowances.
At present, 27 federal government departments are availing additional allowances including Prime Minister’s Office, President Secretariat, the Federal Investigation Agency, National Accountability Bureau, Benazir Income Support Programme, Federal Board of Revenue, and health ministry.
The total annual financial impact for giving raise to only officers serving in grade 17 to 22 has been estimated at Rs4 billion. For six months period (January-June 2020) the impact is worked out at Rs2.25 billion. The government will get tax benefit of Rs400 million and net impact for giving raise to officers will be Rs1.6 billion.
However, the salaries of the officers are less than 15% of the total federal wage bill and the real financial impact will be due to giving raise to people serving in grade 1 to 16. The officers are only 5% of the total federal government’s employees.
Giving 100% increase in basic pay to Pak Secretariat employees will carry huge financial cost, which may also need the vetting of the International Monetary Fund.
The decision by the governments of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab to grant executive allowances at the start of the fiscal year has put the federal government of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf at a disadvantageous position. The provincial governments went ahead with their plans to increase salaries of their employees despite the displeasure publicly expressed by Prime Minister Imran Khan last year.
The Punjab government gave the executive allowance for the civil officers appointed on the cadre post. The provincial civil officers are now entitled to the executive allowance equal to 150% of their basic salary.
The secretaries committee reviewed two options, propose increase in salaries equal to what Punjab government has given or recommend 100% increase in basic pay scale.
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In the budget, the PTI government had announced a 10% increase in the salaries of grades 1 to 16 officials and 5% raise had been given to the officers serving in grades 17 to 20. No raise had been given to the government employees serving against two highest basic pay scales of grades 21 and 22.
The bureaucrats in private conversations grumble about low or no increase in their salaries, which according to them was not enough to absorb the full impact of the surge in income tax liabilities and double-digit inflation. The take-home salary of a majority of the civil servants has slightly reduced despite a rise of 5% to 10% in their salaries in the federal budget due to a surge in income tax liabilities. The take-home salary of the majority of officers reduced from Rs3,000 to Rs15,000 per month.
Currently, the gross monthly salary, inclusive of all allowances, of the grade 22 officer –the highest pay scale, is in the range of Rs264,000 to Rs368,000. But the grade 22’s basic salary is slightly above Rs82,000 per month. The grade 21’s gross salary is in range of Rs233,000 to Rs317,000 and the grade 20 salary ranges between Rs205,000 to Rs280,000 a month.
The grade 1’s basic salary is Rs9,100 per month.
According to the government’s working, in 1972 the monthly salary of grade 22 was 30 times higher than grade-I employee –the difference that has now narrowed down to almost under ten times. Similarly, as compared to 1972, salaries of only up to grade 9 and grade 16 employees increased in real times while the salaries of rest of the employees effectively decreased.
Inflation remains a key factor, which has affected almost every income group of Pakistan, particularly in the past one year.
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