Bonus: PC seeks ‘rewards’ for completing each transaction

Wants up to eight basic salaries as fruits of conducting transactions.

Shahbaz Rana September 13, 2015
Commission is seeking a share in privatisation proceeds at a time when the government is expecting billions of rupees earnings from the sale of state assets. PHOTO: FILE


Privatisation Commission (PC) is seeking up to eight basic salaries as reward on the completion of each privatisation transaction for its employees including the top brass, a slippery slope at a time when the government is looking to cut costs by introducing austerity measures.

The commission has placed its demand for additional benefits on the agenda of the upcoming board meeting, according to sources in PC.

The commission is seeking a share in privatisation proceeds at a time when the government is expecting billions of rupees from the sale of state assets. Since assuming power, the incumbent government has already completed five privatisation transactions valued at Rs173 billion.

Sources said employees were already getting additional benefits and the commission now wanted the board to approve the honorarium policy to structure the reward system. It is also seeking enhancement in the honorarium limit.

Honorarium refers to any voluntary payment given to a person in return of services for which fees is not legally or traditionally required.

The commission has formally sought the board’s permission to allow PC Chairman, Mohammad Zubair, to award honorariums to the employees of both the PC and the privatisation division. It is seeking disbursements of these additional benefits at the end of the year and completion of each privatisation transaction.

For what it called “complex and challenging transactions”, the commission has proposed eight basic salaries as honorarium for the core team. All other members of the commission and the division will be entitled to receive half the amount paid to the core team, according to the proposed policy.

Under the proposed policy, the maximum reward will be given to the secretary privatisation.

The commission is seeking four basic salaries as reward on completion of “relatively easy and routine transactions” for the core team working on the transaction, according to the sources.  Some estimates say the commission will disburse minimum Rs3 million at the conclusion of easy transactions.

Drawing example

The PC’s decision to seek reward for its employees highlights a growing practice among various government departments to seek more than the standard compensation for performing basic duties. The officials working in Presidency, Prime Minister’s Office, Federal Investigation Agency, National Accountability Bureau, Federal Board of Revenue, Supreme Court of Pakistan and National Highway and Motorway Police are getting special salary packages.

The Ministry of Finance, Federal Board of Revenue and Ministry of Planning also disburse budget honorariums each year. The budget honorarium policy was meant for only up to grade 20 officers. However, by grossly misusing this policy, the Finance Ministry is giving budget honorarium to grade 21, grade 22 and contractual employees in management pay scales. The Auditor General of Pakistan has framed an audit objection on misuse of budget honorarium policy and seeking recoveries.

One of the reasons behind such efforts is the salary structure of the federal government employees.

However, most of the commission’s employees are hired at a salary package, which is higher than the remunerations received under the regular salary package. The total sanctioned strength of the employees of the PC and privatisation division is 192 and at present, some 153 people are working. Out of those, as many as 83 employees are working with the PC.

The reward on completion of privatisation transaction will be over and above normal honorariums that the employees are receiving on special occasions like Eid.

The commission is building its case for the honorariums on a January 1999 PC board decision when the board had decided to grant honorarium amounting to Rs503,717 to officers and staff of the PC out of the privatisation fund account. It is also citing another precedent of 2006 when the PC board had approved one month’s basic pay as honorarium to all employees on Eid.

However, in both these cases, the amount was not as high as the commission is currently demanding.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 13th, 2015.

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gul | 8 years ago | Reply Rewards for doing their jobs right. Punishment for doing it wrong? I say confiscate all their assets and put them in jail for 5 years with hard labor and no parole.
Parvez | 8 years ago | Reply .........aren't they getting paid for doing their job ?
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