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December 8, 2018

With 477 employees, KPEZDMC to cut jobs for rationalization

National

December 8, 2018

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Economic Zones Development and Management Company (KPEZDMC), one of the flagship companies the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government established to expedite industrialization in the province, is going to cut jobs in the name of rationalisation as the company has failed to deliver.

It has been observed by some members of the company’s somewhat dormant and unreasonably large Board of Directors (BoD) that the layoffs will have to occur as the company needs to either undergo restructuring and downsizing or go out of business.

The KPEZDMC was set up to run the affairs of industrial estates and economic zones through corporate governance. The decision also led to the closure of the Sarhad Development Authority (SDA), which was established in 1973, to carry out similar services in the province.

All the assets and records of the now defunct SDA were transferred to the KPEZDMC through a letter issued by the secretary industries, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government.

The company is governed through a 21-member BoD with 75 percent representation from the private sector. The remaining 25 percent of its members come from the public sector. The board has now been restructured with secretary industries as its head.

The company over the last few months terminated the services of four high-ranking executives for a variety of reasons.

The latest terminations came on Monday when the government-owned company sacked the acting head of the Human Resource Department, Attique Sultan Raja and Estate Manager Islam Gul.

The company’s Board of Director (BoD) last year in August approved the termination of Chief Human Resource Officer Jawad Amin and Chief Finance Officer Shaukat Iqbal Khattak.

The KPEZDMC is mulling terminating more employees as part of what its Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Saeed Ahmed, termed a much-needed rationalisation to increase the company’s efficiency.

Saeed Ahmed said that they had completed their analysis and assessment of the situation that warranted rationalisation of the company.

“We will take our work to the BoD that would hopefully meet next month. We will straightaway go for rationalization in the company if the board approved our analysis and assessment,” Saeed Ahmed added.

He said the company had 477 employees, including 168 staffers it inherited from the SDA and 309 of its own personnel.

“Looking at our scope of work in hand and that in future we have decided to lay some of them off. We will only keep staff in accordance with our current scope of work and future projects,” the CEO explained.

When his attention was drawn to the recent appointments on top positions in KPEZDMC, he said that ironically some departments in the company were overstaffed while others remained understaffed. “Like tell me how a company could operate without a manager legal. We have appointed legal management and one assistant manager, again a very important position,” Saeed added.

About the two latest terminations, he said they have been terminated under Clause 5 of their contract which allows the company to sack any of its employees with a month prior notice or one month salary in lieu.

“The company reserves the right to end the employment at any time with one month notice or gross salary in lieu under this clause,” Saeed maintained.

He said that further downsizing would be across the board and injustice would not be done to any employee. He added that it would be based on the future scope of work and employees’ efficiency.

Fuad Ishaq, former president of the Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) and an ex-member of the KPEZDMC BoD, said they have also brought the matters regarding the affairs of the company to the notice of Chief Minister Mahmood Khan when a delegation of the chamber called on him the other day.

He said the chief minister directed the secretary industries heading the KPEZDMC BoD to sit with the business community leaders and sort out the issues concerning the KPEZDMC affairs.

“We informed the chief minister that the company required complete restructuring. The CEO is getting Rs1.3 million salary while his controlling authority in the public sector (secretary industries) is receiving a little more than Rs100,000. This is a predicament. Isn’t it?” he said.

He said they also asked him to reconsider the size of the company’s board and bring it down to a manageable size.

“We told the chief minister that private members and chairman, who is also supposed to be from the private sector, could give the company a vision only. They cannot run it so the government should take on board relevant people to run the company in a proper manner,” Fuad Ishaq argued.

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