The cash-strapped University of Peshawar on Saturday decided to cut the salaries and pensions for some of its employees by as much as 40 per cent.
The Express Tribune has learnt that the University of Peshawar (UoP), one of the oldest educational institutions in the country, is faced with severe financial crunch due and it is facing problems paying staff.
As a result, the administration of the varsity has decided to cut the salaries and pensions of its employees who are serving in Basic Pay Scale (BPS) grade 17 to 22.
Officials in UoP’s administration department and with knowledge of the development said that the varsity pays out around Rs1.2 billion every month in salaries and pensions to its employees. They added that such a high expenditure is unsustainable given that the number of students seeking admission to the educational institution has been falling steadily for the past few years.
In February this year, the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government had to bail out the varsity, promising to provide it with Rs250 million in an emergency cash injection and to prevent it from financial ruin. However, the government only released Rs10 million to the varsity.
The bailout came after UoP’s vice-chancellor wrote to the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) chief minister on January 27, seeking urgent financial support.
UoP Spokesperson Ali Imran on Saturday said that a meeting of varsity’s syndicate was recently held which was chaired by the vice-chancellor.
He added that the meeting discussed the financial crises that the varsity was facing.
During the meeting, it was decided that the varsity’s administration will soon hold a meeting with the governor and the chief minister of the province to secure the remaining sum of the bailout package.
Shedding light on the poor financial situation of the university, Imran explained that some of their revenue earners, such as markets, guest houses and the Baragali summer camp have been shut for the past four months due to the novel coronavirus (Covid-19).
Further, revenue could not be raised after exams and subsequent fee collection had to be delayed due to the pandemic.
Further, he said that the government has only released a meagre first tranche of funds, which it usually does in the first month of the new fiscal year. However, this is insufficient to adequately manage the varsity’s finances prompting them to announce the drastic steps of cut salaries, he informed.
Meanwhile, the Peshawar University Teachers Association (PUTA), in a statement, condemned the UoP administration for its failure to secure funds announced by the provincial government.
The statement read that a cut in salaries was an injustice with the teachers of the varsity.
The teachers’ body announced that it will stage a protest on July 27 (Monday) against the varsity administration.
They further warned that their protests will continue until the administration reverses its decision to cut salaries.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 26th, 2020.
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