The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government on Sunday decided to reorganise and fully computerise the province’s pension payment system.
The decision was taken at a meeting of the finance department chaired by K-P Minister for Finance Sirajul Haq.
During the meeting, Haq expressed concerns over the absence of an organised system for keeping official records. “The system is prone to fake cases wherein money is withdrawn from government exchequer illegally,” Haq said.
The finance minister also stressed on investing the funds allocated for pension payments in various other profitable schemes. “These steps would not only help reduce the burden on the government, but will also benefit pensioners in the form of profits,” he added.
Special Secretary for Finance Maqsood Khan said annually the government pays Rs24 billion in pensions to retired employees, which makes up 11.37 % of the province’s total budget.
“The pool of pensioners increases by 5,000-7,000 people annually, requiring a Rs2.5-3 billion increase in the amount allocated for them,” Khan said.
He reiterated computerising the system would eliminate fake cases and reduce the burden on the public exchequer. “We would also be able to recover money embezzled in the past,” he claimed.
Under the new system, retired employees will have to provide their fingerprints every three months to prove they are still alive. The system would also be linked to the National Database and Registration Authority in order to do away with any irregularity.
The finance minister directed concerned officials to expedite the process of putting the new system in place and told them to ensure that the distribution system is free from corruption.
The system’s overhaul will help around 160,000 pensioners receive their pensions through smart cards instead of having to stand in queues in front of banks and post offices.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 15th, 2013.