As pressure mounts on the government to bring an end to discriminatory practices, the Pay Committee has decided to keep the pay scales of civil servants unchanged while vowing to address genuine concerns of the employees without putting additional strain on the exchequer.
Headed by former State Bank of Pakistan governor Dr Ishrat Husain, the committee decided on Friday that in its efforts to remove disparity in salaries, it will adopt a path that will have no implications for the budget.
The government constituted the committee to rationalise or bring maximum possible equality in the salaries of employees working in equal basic pay scales in various government departments. At present, employees of some of the government departments are getting more than the normal pay of civil servants.
Few of these departments are the Presidency, Prime Minister Secretariat, Federal Board of Revenue, judiciary, armed forces, National Highway and Motorway Police, Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority, National Accountability Bureau and PM’s Security.
The employees of the Accountant General of Pakistan Revenue (AGPR) have given a deadline to the government either to increase their salaries or withdraw the raise given to other departments. The budget constraints have forced the finance ministry to undertake an assessment before taking any decision.
Talking to The Express Tribune, Ministry of Finance spokesman Rana Assad Amin said the Pay Committee discussed three options, which were on table. It reviewed the possibility of equalising salaries of all employees by increasing the pay of comparatively less-paid people. However, this option will put a huge burden on the national exchequer and is likely to be dropped at the end of the day.
The committee also discussed the possibility of equalising salaries by decreasing the pay of the privileged club and increasing the pay of those who are being paid less.
The last option was to merge the four ad hoc allowances in the salaries of those employees who are comparatively paid less. This option is likely to be picked up as it will not have an immediate impact on the budget, but will increase the pension bill in coming years.
In the next meeting, likely to be held after Eid, the regulations wing of the finance ministry will present implications of each option for the budget.
Amin said the committee decided that in the first phase only the salaries of civil servants will be rationalised and pay scales of the judiciary and armed forces will be considered in the second phase.
According to calculations of the finance ministry, a grade 22 civil servant is normally getting monthly salary of Rs122,936. The same official, if working in ERRA, will get Rs154,117, in FBR his salary will be Rs187,286, in Presidency and Prime Minister Secretariat Rs170,747 and in NAB Rs154,117.
The grade 22 officer of the Supreme Court, Islamabad High Court, Federal Shariat Court and the law ministry will get the highest salary of Rs234,685. In ISI, the grade 22 officer is getting Rs149,961 and a lieutenant general of the army will get Rs140,148.
Similarly, a grade 1 employee of a civil department will get Rs15,305 per month, in FBR the amount goes up to Rs22,003, in ERRA Rs18,193, in Presidency and PM Secretariat Rs20,273, in NAB Rs18,408, in NHA Rs29,001, in Model Traffic Police Rs29,433, in Eagle Force Rs19,625, in PM Security Rs20,921, in ISI Rs18,113 and in armed forces Rs19,452. The judiciary’s grade 1 employee is getting Rs32,686.
The finance ministry’s spokesman said the committee also decided to consult all the provinces before taking a final decision. It also decided to implement the remaining recommendations of the Pay and Pension Commission of 2009. These recommendations include monetisation of housing rent.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 20th, 2012.
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