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National

August 7, 2018

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KP averts SC reprimand on highly-paid CEOs of public sector companies

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has been able to steer clear of the reprimand by the Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) for hiring bureaucrats on hefty salaries and perks to run public sector companies even though one of the chief executive officers has been hired for about Rs3 million monthly salary and other benefits.

Besides, the water and sanitation companies set up in Peshawar, Mardan, Malakand, and Dera Ismail Khan, the previous PTI-led provincial government had also established the KP Oil and Gas Company Limited (KPOGCL) and the KP Economic Zones Development and Management Company (KPEZDMC), and reorganized the Board of Investment (BOI), Pakhtunkhwa Power Energy Development Organisation (PEDO) and KP Revenue Authority (KPRA). It also established TransPeshawar, a company tasked to run operation of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) in Peshawar. On the pattern of Punjab, the PTI government also hired the chief executive officers (CEOs) and heads for these companies on hefty salaries along with perks. It also hired for the first time the managing director for the public sector commercial bank, Bank of Khyber (BoK). They were given salaries up to Rs2 million.

Also, some were given allowances up to Rs0.5 million along with telephones, vehicles, etc. However, an official of the Finance Department said, “For the high-pay CEOs, with high overconfidence and secured tenure, the performance of these entities remains average.”

There is a mechanism to pay those working in such organisations at managerial position - Management Position (MP). The government has recently revised the MP-I, MP-II and MP-III scale salaries and allowances. The maximum MP-I basic pay has been revised to Rs532,950, MP-II to Rs290,400 and MP-III to Rs181,500.

The most prominent among the highly paid company is the KPOGCDL. It is headed by a CEO whose salary and perks are close to Rs3 million. He is getting Rs2.5 million (maximum) in addition to Rs50,000 monthly entertainment allowance, 600 litres petrol (POL), Rs40,000 for cellphone use, and 50 percent leave encashment and other perks. His deputy is allowed a maximum salary of Rs2 million along with 350 litres POL, Rs40,000 for cellphone use, Rs30,000 entertainment allowance and other perks.

The company’s senior general manager’s salary is Rs1.5 million (maximum), with Rs10,000 monthly entertainment allowance and Rs35,000 for use of cellphone along with other perks. The salaries of the general manager, deputy general manager, manager and assistant managers range from Rs150,000 to Rs1million plus certain perks. However, in the paper shown to The News, the company failed to deliver the desired results.

PEDO is another organisation for which the previous government hired CEO for about Rs1.5 million a month from the open market.

The CEO for KPEZDMC was hired for Rs1.3 million and the CEO for the TransPeshawar also for Rs1.3 million a month to run the company. The previous provincial government also hired managing director Bank of Khyber from the open market for Rs1.5 million.

The government recruited CEOs for the Water Sewerage and Sanitation Companies (WSSCs) from the market on monthly salary of up to Rs0.5 million.

On the same analogy, about 56 companies operating in Punjab have hired CEOs on salaries and perks up to Rs2 million.

The only difference between the provinces’ modus operandi is that Punjab has mostly appointed bureaucrats on deputation to run these companies while the KP hired people from the open market.

The dismal performance of these companies and high-pay of CEOs in Punjab prompted the Chief Justice of Pakistan to take suo moto notice to probe their affairs.

Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar questioned such appointments and during one of the hearings of the case said people heading these companies got salaries in millions, while officials in public sector departments providing the same services receive Rs0.2 million.

He reprimanded the previous Punjab government for non-implementation of the MP scale and ordered the bureaucrats heading the companies in the province to pay back the extra ‘toppings’ on their salaries that they were receiving after being appointed as heads of the top 56 companies of Punjab. The officials were also reprimanded for poor work. However, the apex court gave no attention to the salaries and perks of the CEOs of the public sector companies in KP.

Secretary Finance Shakeel Qadir Khan told The News that there is no bureaucrat in the province posted in any company receiving pay in excess of the ceiling set by the apex court or the MP scale.

He said the managing director, Bank of Khyber is still a low-paid professional when it comes to the salaries and perks of the heads of the commercial banks in the country and even those owned by the provinces.

He said that the TransPeshawar, PEDO and KPEZDMC are operating without fulltime CEO at the moment, while the WSSCs are headed by officials getting salaries at the MP scales range.

About the CEO KPOGCDL, he said, “the official heading the organisation knows the sector in and out and his salary and perks are part of the terms and conditions concluded with him at the time of appointment.”

“I am not in knowledge of any position in public sector companies occupied by any civil servant getting salary or perks in excess of that of MP ceiling,” he added.

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