Pay raises

Published: March 8, 2013
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By approving an across-the-board 20 per cent increase in the salaries of federal secretariat employees just 10 days before the government completes its term, the ruling party is trying to buy votes for the next election. PHOTO: FILE

By approving an across-the-board 20 per cent increase in the salaries of federal secretariat employees just 10 days before the government completes its term, the ruling party is trying to buy votes for the next election. PHOTO: FILE

By approving an across-the-board 20 per cent increase in the salaries of federal secretariat employees just 10 days before the government completes its term, the ruling party is once again leaving itself open to accusations of trying to buy votes for the next election. Previously, the government had diverted money from development funds to the prime minister’s discretionary fund, presumably so that money could be spent in constituencies where votes were needed. This move was shot down by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) but the government has not been paying heed to the ECP’s directives. Bans on government recruitment and transfers are widely believed to have been ignored and the ECP itself has complained about this. This is yet another pre-election tactic that may have to be rescinded by the ECP.

The salary increase was approved by the prime minister despite the recommendations of the Pay and Pension Committee, headed by a former governor of the State Bank of Pakistan, Dr Ishrat Hussain. Dr Hussain has come out forcefully against the government for ignoring his advice. What compounds the problem is that the government will have to pay for these raises by giving supplementary funds to the departments concerned. And those excluded from the salary increases will demand equal treatment, an objection this current government will be happy to address despite our national exchequer already being so badly depleted.

Right now, the government is running a huge budget deficit with soaring energy prices, low tax collection and costly subsidies leaving it unable to balance the books. Government bodies like PIA are so overstaffed that retrenchment, not a raise in salary, should be the order of the day. But the government is in no mood to practice austerity. It is far more concerned with its re-election prospects. The government only has a little time left in its term but one shudders to think how much damage it can inflict on our precarious finances in even that short a period.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 9th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (2)

  • Khi Khi
    Mar 9, 2013 - 2:09PM

    The government appointed bureaucrats are making hay in the last rays of the sun. The same can be seen in DFIs where politically appointed top management has given themselves highest raises and bonuses this year right before this government departs.

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  • Dishearted
    Mar 10, 2013 - 12:04AM

    Its really rediculus… on one hand the salaries of those people are sky rocketting who are doing nothing for the betterment of Economy, they are just sitting in their luxurious offices and waste their time (that too half of the official time as they come late and leave early) and resources of Pakistan being spent on them. on the hand people doing their utmost try to earn something for Pakistan are looking forward for the betterment of their life style but no one is intereted in that. The lower level satff who carry out the tasks of orgnizations like in commercial banks, and the central bank(SBP) ae getting nothing as compared to the even lower level staff of these not so productive offices. Every Govt takes billions of SBP profit every year and take that into their accounts which make these accounts look healthier but when it comes to the increment of the officers of this prestigious institution, no one give a damn to them, as it is in other offices, SBP has also the same rule to award high rate to the higher level officials who already are taking pay out in 6 or 7 digits, while the lower level staff in this organization is the one who carried the whole operations of the organization and is the most unsatisfied level as well. Frustration is building in the lower level staff anf if these people stop working, the whole economic sector will be in crisis for sure. It is better to think now then to be late, not to loose your efficient people, you must think it now.

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