Show me the money: Auditor General asks for whopping 400% increase in salary

Law and finance ministries say the demand is illegal and unjustified.


Shahbaz Rana April 30, 2013
Vexed by the ministries’ refusal, the AGP blocked the salaries of concerned secretaries – former secretary finance Abdul Wajid Rana and Secretary Law Yasmin Abbasy. DESIGN

ISLAMABAD:


The Auditor General of Pakistan, Akhtar Buland Rana, is pushing the government to give him a monthly salary of Rs743,560, which amounts to an increase of over 400% and equates his office to that of a judge of the Supreme Court.


The auditor general’s demand comes at a time when the International Monetary Fund asking the government to curtail its expenditures in order to qualify for a new bailout programme.

According to official documents, the Auditor General Pakistan (AGP) has been forcing the government to change the terms and conditions of his services through a notification, but his demands have been termed unjustified and illegal by the law ministry and finance ministry.

Vexed by the ministries’ refusal, the AGP blocked the salaries of concerned secretaries – former secretary finance Abdul Wajid Rana and Secretary Law Yasmin Abbasy.

A summary written and signed by Akhtar, states “the present pay and pension package of the auditor general does not match one of a head of a constitutional organisation.”

It goes on to say that the AGP ought to be “paid salary, allowances, pension and other benefits, which are equivalent to that of a judge of the Supreme Court.”

The move was confirmed by the spokesman for the office of the AGP. He said the request to increase the salary was based upon a comparison with the Comptroller and Auditor General of India.

Akhtar demanded that a change in his pay structure should be done through a notification issued by the finance ministry. He, however, did not ask for an increase in the salaries of his department.

To push his case further, the AGP also visited the finance secretary’s office, trying to convince him to endorse the summary, which had been sent directly to the prime minister, a senior official in the finance ministry told The Express Tribune.

This was followed by repeated phone call reminders, he added.

According to the finance ministry, an apex court judge gets a monthly salary worth Rs508,097 in addition to a Rs235,463 judicial allowance. The AGP is currently getting a salary 20% higher than the maximum salary payable to a Grade-22 officer which amounts to Rs85,700, and by adding another sum of roughly  Rs56,000 on account of two ad-hoc allowances, the Grade 22 officer’s salary roughly adds up to Rs141,000.

The finance ministry has opposed the AGP’s demand on the grounds that after the 18th amendment, the federal government can no longer amend the AG’s Ordinance 2001 through a notification.  The law division also endorsed the finance ministry’s views.

“The constitutional offices discharging executive and administrative functions cannot be treated at par to that of the constitutional post of the judges,” the law division wrote.

Akhtar has been a controversial figure since he assumed office. He was reportedly appointed by former Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, allegedly in a bid to secure 14,000 votes from Akhtar’s clan, who reside in the former premier’s hometown.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 30th, 2013.

COMMENTS (5)

Babar | 8 years ago | Reply

Any mediocre CFO in a moderately large private organization goes for at least a million a month, apart from benefits. If the government is not going to pay at par with the private sector how is it going to get the talented people to work for it. Currently, the government job is considered lucrative solely because there are opportunities to augment the compensation with corruption. To eradicate corruption and hire serious professionals who want to do work honestly the pays have to reflect the market values.

yasin | 8 years ago | Reply

Why AGP should remain behind, after all his pattrons have secured life time pension and other privileges for themselves and their cronies. AGP must remember that Comptroller and Aduitor Gen of India is responsible for the audit and accounts of a country 6 times larger than Pakistan.For a logical equation, not only his but salaries of other high ups of this country eg Generals, Judges and top bureaucrary should be six time less than their counter parts in India. If demand of AGP is accceeded to, then Chairman FPSC, Governor State bank and Chief of Army Staff may also come foward with similar demand.

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