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ISLAMABAD: The Finance Ministry has reportedly refused to increase salaries of federal government employees forthwith, saying that any increase will be made at the time of the budget 2021-22 in accordance with the recommendations of Pay and Pension Commission, well-informed sources told Business Recorder.

The federal government employees are already protesting against the government decision not to index salaries to the cost of living index but their demonstrations have not yet yielded any positive result.

This issue was raised by Federal Secretariat's employees at a recent meeting of Federal Cabinet, wherein it was apprised that the demand for increase in pay and allowances could only be considered at the time of budget in the light of recommendations of Pay and Pension Commission, now being headed by former Principal Secretary to Prime Minister, Ms Nargis Sethi. Prime Minister urged fast-tracking the report of the Pay & Pension Commission to bring equitable formula for all employees of federal government. The Finance Minister assured the Cabinet members to abide by the decision of Pay & Pension Commission.

The sources said, federal government entities have been reduced from 441 to 324: Vacant posts of BS 1- 16 in Ministries/Divisions to be abolished for one year and a summary is being prepared for abolishing 70,000 vacant posts (BS 1-16) by Finance Division.

Institutional Reforms Committee (IRC) is working on reforms with relevant Ministries on key economic institutions, eg, FBR, SECP, SBP, PIA, CAA and Pakistan railways among others.

Reforms within these entities largely relate to improving governance, rationalizing service structure and introducing digitization in the service delivery, which are to be achieved once reforms are implemented.

The sources said roadmap for E-Governance has already been approved, upgrade of websites to 3G version and launch of web portals is underway. Proposals to revise Rules of Business have been finalized by CCIR. Establishment Manual is being reviewed for purging the outdated material and making it concise. Updated EstaCode and Establishment Manual would be made accessible online. All Divisions are at Level 2 or above and NITB is expected to complete the process by end January, 2021. In this regard Cabinet Division is preparing summaries. Exercise to be completed by June 2021. Liquidation, merger and transfer of entities to provinces or relevant ministries would reduce expenditure. Summary is being prepared for abolishing 70,000 vacant posts (BS 1-16) by Finance Division. Currant expenditure on running of Civil Administration has been frozen in nominal terms and declined in real terms.

The Pay and Pension Commission 2020 has been formed to consider existing pay and pension structure of the federal government and provide proposals for any necessary changes. The Committee on MP and SPPS has been constituted to attract best talent and skilled manpower in the public sector-22 posts converted, which will submit its report by next month.

The sources said, international advertisements and head hunting have been allowed to the Ministries and their organizations to attract talent and skilled manpower from across the globe.

According to sources, to scrutinize the non-wage public expenditures such as office space utilization, equipment, etc, of various public entities with the aim to consolidate and improve utilization, merger of Ministries/Division is being undertaken to consolidate and improve utilization of resources and achieve savings. Rationalization of officer to staff ratio is also under process. Monetization of vehicles policy is being implemented and monitored.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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