As per the revised standard pay packages for project posts, the highest range notified on Thursday for the project pay scale (PPS) will be Rs875,000 to Rs1.4 million per month.
In exceptional cases, the official documents reveal that the administrative department may hire the project director and others at a higher salary for reasons to be recorded in writing.
As per the documents, the packages were approved by the Punjab Provincial Development Working Party (PDWP) meeting held on June 28 under the chairman Planning and Development Board Punjab.
As per the documents, the pay for PPS 11 will be from Rs612,500 to Rs980 000, PPS 10 Rs437,500 to Rs700,000, the salary of PPS 9 will be Rs306,250 to Rs502,250, for PPS 8 Rs218,750 to Rs358,750 for PPS 7 Rs157,500 to Rs258,300 for PPS 6 Rs105,000 to Rs172,200 and so on.
This pay package will be followed for appointments from the private sector hired through open competition including project directors, advisors, specialists, experts and consultants. The concerned administrative department shall meticulously outline the eligibility criteria for the project posts including academics, professional and experience.
The project employees will have market-based salaries and no right to regularisation. As the documents say, the number of project employees shall be decided by the approving fora.
It is to be recalled that the Punjab government had earlier approved a policy to recruit officials for projects.
It would be worth mentioning that during the past tenure of the PML-N the blue-eyed officers were paid less or more than a million per month in addition to the regular salaries and perks of the government officers.
Punjab Saaf Pani Company Chief Executive Officer Mohammed Usman had been drawing Rs1.3 million per month, Dr. Nasir Javed, Muhammad Ali Aamir and others also served in different companies. Ahad Cheema served as CEO of Quaid e Azam Solar Park Company while Dr. Javed worked with Punjab Urban Unit and as a board member of Lahore Waste Management Company.
The other companies included Punjab Agriculture and Meat Company, Lahore Transport Company, Lahore Parking Company, Punjab Livestock And Dairy Development Board, Punjab Health Facilities Management Company and waste management companies established in different major cities of the province.
The CEO of National Thermal Power had a package of Rs2 million, Knowledge Park Company Rs1.4 million, Clean Water Company Rs1.3 million, Skills Development Company Rs1.1 million, Punjab Urban Development Rs0.6 million, Punjab Investment and Trade Company Rs0.8 million, Punjab Model Bazar Company Rs0.8 million and so on.
Both the apex court and National Accountability Bureau had taken notice of these lavish drawings by the favourite bureaucrats. The giant accountability body had started an investigation into alleged corruption, waste of resources, absence of transparency and regular audits, favouritism in appointments and delay in completion of projects.
Moreover, the Auditor General of Pakistan had also expressed concerns about the companies, recommending that the practice of granting funds to them should be stopped forthwith. Many officers were arrested and later released by courts for lack of valid pieces of evidence against them including Cheema, Ajmal Ch and incumbent PEF Chairman Qamar-ul-Islam Raja.
It was said that the companies had been established in the guise of good governance but ended up as complete trash.
It is feared that the new move may again open the floodgate of politically connected favourites being posted against lucrative posts for heavy pay and perks. At the same time, the hoi polloi and the ‘have-nots’ continue to suffer in silence.