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January 29, 2020

UoP seeks bailout package to pay salaries, pensions

Peshawar

January 29, 2020

PESHAWAR: The University of Peshawar is unable to pay salaries and pensions to its employees and pensioners for the current month owing to the worst financial crisis and its administration has appealed to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to immediately issue a grant of Rs200 million to overcome the problem.

The provincial government has also been asked to approve a grant of Rs150 million for the university to meet its recurring expenditures on a monthly basis.

The University of Peshawar Vice-Chancellor Professor Dr Mohammad Asif Khan made the request to Chief Minister Mahmood Khan through a detailed letter. The vice-chancellor in the letter said that the university administration has made several requests to both the Higher Education Commission (HEC) and the provincial government for a bailout package, but to no avail.

The letter stated that the university required Rs403.4 million by February 1 for payment of salaries, pensions and some other expenses, while the total funds available with it were Rs199.8 million showing a shortfall of Rs203.59 million.

The letter noted that the university had not been given matching grant in accordance with the increase in salaries and pensions during the last 12 years. “The grant issued to the university so far has been increased by 113 percent while the salaries of the university employees climbed up by 270 percent and pensions by 929 percent,” it added.

The total quantum of salaries of the university in 2006-07 was Rs470 million, which rose to Rs1,737 in 2018-19 with a net increase of Rs1,267 million. The pensions of the university’s pensioners in 2006-07 totalled Rs84 million, which increased to Rs906 million with a net increase of Rs822 million. Thus the total net increase in salaries and pensions during the last 12 years was Rs2,089 million against which a grant of Rs819 million was given to the university. This resulted in the worst financial condition.

The vice-chancellor explained that the university has taken several measures to overcome the deficit during the last two years. He said the own resources of the university increased by Rs325 million, but this wasn’t enough to meet the ever increasing expenditures on account of salary and pension. He argued that despite all out efforts, it wasn’t possible to meet the gap in receipts and payments, mainly created due to non-provision of adequate grants.

Spokesman for the university Ali Imran when approached for comments confirmed that the letter had been sent to the chief minister and the university was waiting for his response. He said the university was facing severe financial problems for the last several years, but until now it was managing the issue one way or the other. “But now the situation has gone out of control and the university is unable to pay salaries and pensions,” he said.

He explained that University of Peshawar was the oldest institution of higher education in the province and it should not be treated equally with the newly established universities. “We have been paying pensions to our retired employees since 1980 while the other universities would start paying pensions 15 to 20 years later. Therefore, our expenses are much higher than them,” he maintained.

He said that the issue cannot be resolved through one-time grant as a comprehensive bailout package should be approved for the university.