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Wednesday, February 8, 2023
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HomeOpinionCrunching economy, exorbitant spendings — all mismatch

Crunching economy, exorbitant spendings — all mismatch

Critics argue that the large sums of money given to officers are unnecessary and excessive, particularly given the current state of the crumbling economy. The government, they suggest, should rethink its decision and include only high performers in the allowance scheme

While providing monetary benefits to officers is necessary in order to ensure their performance, if not tightly regulated they would exacerbate the financial woes of the taxpayers.

Despite Pakistan facing severe threats of bankruptcy all the governments instead of observing austerity have been found involved in lavish spending.

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The Punjab government has too notified doubling the allowances to all officers posted in the Civil Secretariat, Chief Minister and Governor offices. As per the notification, all up to grade 22 will get an amount equal to running basic pay as an allowance every month.

Many people feel that this move is unfair and will only serve to widen the gap between the officials of the Secretariats and all others.

Critics argue that the large sums of money given to officers are unnecessary and excessive, particularly given the current state of the crumbling economy. The government, they suggest, should rethink its decision and include only high performers in the allowance scheme.

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Public sector service delivery suffers if allowances are not aligned with outcomes to ensure that officers are working efficiently.

However, if these incentives are designed properly, they can actually help increase performance. “Properly designed incentives will encourage officers to meet specific goals rather than rewarding them for simply doing their job,” said a DG requesting secrecy. However, there has not been any indication of a reciprocal effect from the highly paid-officers in terms of improved performance or productivity.

This new allowance system, which was rolled out some years ago, is seen by some as nothing more than a bribe, as it could not incentivize better work.

One chief engineer commented anonymously that this is ‘nothing more than a way to keep people happy without having to actually do anything’. He said despite heavy responsibilities, research and investigation duties, contract awarding complexities, dealing with field formations, and work audits he was paid less than a deputy secretary who has comparatively little to do.

The main effect of heavy allowances given to all officers without linking it to their performance is that it can create a sense of entitlement and low motivation. Additionally, it can also be a waste of government resources.

In some Indian states, under such incentive schemes, the officers are only given rewards for outperforming their targets in key areas such as revenue collection, service delivery, implementation of schemes, etc. The amount of the reward varies from officer to officer based on their performance.

It is often said that permanent government jobs, with their heavy allowances, and other benefits, and no accountability are a major reason for the poor performance of public sector employees.

Poor performers can be a drag on an organization’s productivity and profitability. They can also create a hostile work environment. For these reasons, many organizations have a policy of compulsory retirement for poor performers.

The inefficient in the government sector often have little to improve their performance, as they may be protected from dismissal or other forms of retribution.

This can lead to a decline in public confidence in those services. The inefficient can also cause financial problems for governments, as they may be more likely to waste taxpayers’ money or make financial losses. They have a negative impact on morale within government organisations, as those who work hard feel that their efforts are being considered equal to those who do not.

The Punjab government should conduct a study to find out whether heavy monetary payments like executive or other allowances contributed to the service delivery of officers or not. If not, the wrong trend of across-the-board monetary benefits may be slashed and linked to the performance of officers.

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