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September 22, 2020

Govt decides to raise Ogra head’s salary from Rs600,000 to Rs1.5m

Top Story

September 22, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The PTI government has decided to increase the salary of Ogra chairman (who is yet to be appointed) by 150 percent to Rs15,00,000 per month from Rs600,000 the ex-chairman had.

The members of Ogra that regulates the oil and gas sector of worth $20 billion will be discouraged with huge disparity in salary structure between Ogra members and its chairman as the qualifications and the experiences of members and chairman are the same. Ogra’s every member has salary of Rs600,000 per month and chairman had the same salary but he/she was given extra Rs50,000 more per month being the head of the regulator.

Under the new scenario, the decision to increase the salary of chairman by 150 percent to Rs1500,000 per month has annoyed the members of the Authority manifold. The Cabinet Division though has kept Zainul Abideen Qureshi at top among the three shortlisted candidates for the post of Member Oil in Ogra but has decided to re-advertise the post for slot of Ogra chairman with huge salary package of Rs1.5 million per month pleading that this allurement will help attract best candidates for the post knowing the fact that Pakistan’s economy is in the phase of finding its feet.

However the sources say that this step will lead to huge distortion in the salary structure which may affect the performance of the regulator in the time to come. The Federal Cabinet that meets today (Tuesday) will take up the summary of the Cabinet Division about the proposal of re-advertisement of Ogra chairman with a salary of Rs1.5 million.

As per the documents available with The News, five members committee headed by Adviser to PM on Interior and Accountability Mr Shahzad Akbar after short listing and interviews sent three members list to Federal Cabinet for the appointment of Oil Member in Ogra.

Cabinet has kept the name of Zainul Abideen Qureshi at the top in the list followed by the name of Ziaul Haq Mirza as second in order and Asim Niazi as third in order. However, Zainul Abideen possesses a master degree in chemical engineering and business administration with 31-year experience. He is currently serving as senior executive director in Ogra. Zainul Abideen has the experience of 16 years in management position and 15 years experience in various positions in international companies abroad.

However for the post of Ogra chairman, about 18 candidates were shortlisted but all were rejected. Interestingly, according to officials privy to development, there were many in the rejected candidates who were competent enough to head the regulator. However, in the wake of intervention of some important figures in the government, the process to select the chairman was scratched down. So Cabinet Division accordingly sent a summary for re-advertisement for the post of chairman with the Federal Cabinet seeking its approval. In the proposal, the Cabinet Division asked the federal cabinet to approve the special scale salary for Ogra chairman instead of MP-1 scale salary. Cabinet Division pleaded saying that the special scale salary will help allure the best candidate for the slot of Ogra chairman.

However, Petroleum Division officials say that the standards of qualifications and experiences are the same for Members of Ogra and its chairman. And the one who is appointed as a member is also eligible for the post of chairperson. ‘If compared with the chairman, the members of gas, oil and finance have more responsibilities, but the huge difference in the salary structure will hamper the performance of the regulator, the official expressed fears.