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ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Industries and Production was annoyed over not attending the committee meeting by the secretary of the ministry on Friday.

As soon as proceedings of the committee started, the chairman of the committee, Senator Khalida Ateeb inquired about the secretary upon which she was informed that the secretary was preparing a presentation.

Some senators showed their displeasure over this response and stated that he was making a presentation for a meeting but did not have an hour or so to attend the parliamentary committee.

The committee also expressed on the organisations under the administrative control of the ministry – Pakistan Industrial Technical Assistance (PITAC), National Fertilizer Corporation (NFC), and National Fertilizer Marketing Limited (NFML).

After officials of these organisations failed to satisfy the committee and its members, the committee decided to seek a detailed report from the ministry regarding the criteria for the regularisation of contractual employees and recovery of the embezzled amount.

The committee was informed that in 2018, the management of NFC through an internal audit unearthed the embezzlement of Rs320 million by its employees and former employees who have availed voluntary severance from employment. The committee was informed the case was referred to FIA in 2019 and the investigation is still under process in FIA Anti-Corruption Cell.

On the issue of the appointment of Basir Ahmad to the Pakistan Industrial Technical Assistance Center (PITAC), the meeting was informed that Basir Ahmad was appointed as an apprentice engineer in 2012 and the rules do not make it obligatory for the PITAC to offer employment to an individual after the completion of their apprenticeship.

However, Basir Ahmad said that he was appointed as an apprentice engineer under the Aghaz-e-Haqooq Balochistan Project subject to consideration for a permanent position after the completion of his apprenticeship. However, despite the availability of relevant positions, no permanent position was offered to him. The committee expressed dissatisfaction with the PITAC and directed the ministry to investigate the matter and submit a report at the next meeting along with all the records.

Senator Humayun Mohmand said that some NFC employees were continuing to work after taking “golden handshake” and enjoying the perks and privileges associated with it. The committee has directed to provide details of the necessary actions taken by NFC management to expedite the inquiry.

While discussing the present status of the regularisation of services and the increase in salaries of NFML employees, the committee was informed that there is a substantial gap between the salaries of regular and contract employees and to lessen the gap the salaries of contract employees were increased by 30 per cent last year.

Senator Khalida Ateeb remarked that complaints were received, which indicate that a “blue-eyed criteria” was adopted for the regularisation of services of some contractual employees while all the contractual employees were hired on the same day. The committee was informed that only those individuals were regularised who were appointed against regular posts. The committee directed NFML to submit details of appointments made so far in the next meeting.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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Maqbool Oct 08, 2023 12:37pm
It seems after the dissolution of the NA the Senate committees are all doing their job. Congratulations
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