Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, keeping in view the plight of pensioners, has approved Rs 381 million for paying salaries and pension to the employees of Sindh Council Unified Grades Service (SCUGC).
He took this decision while presiding over a meeting of local government department at the CM House on Tuesday. The meeting was attended by Senior Minister for Finance & Energy Syed Murad Ali Shah, Minister for Local Government Jam Khan Shoro, Acting Chief Secretary Rizwan Memon, Principal Secretary to CM Alamuddin Bullo, Secretary Local Government Noor Mohammad Laghari and Secretary Finance Sohail Rajput.
Minister for Local Government Jam Khan Shoro said that the chief minister had enhanced the annual share of Sindh Local Government Board (SLGB) from Rs 140 million to Rs 250 million per year in 2014. This amount is not sufficient to meet financial requirement of the board.
The pensioners, who retired from service from November 2013 and onward, are waiting for release of their commutation/gratuity. “Due to this crisis, the SLGB has not released pension to more than 1,000 pensioners according to prevailing rates, including 10 per cent increase announced from July 2014.
Local Government Secretary Noor Mohammad Laghari elaborating the issue said that the share of SLGB was not increased from 2004 to June 2013. By the time, the pay and pension has been increased up to 175 per cent, he said, adding that the SLGB from its present share of Rs 250 million could not disburse pension to its retired officials.
He said presently the number of pensioners had reached 1,200. Giving further details, he said the family pension had been revised from 50 per cent to 75 per cent, medical allowance from 20 to 25 per cent from 2010, 7 per cent cost of living allowance and such other allowances had further enhanced the financial requirement of the board.
The chief minister said it was quite depressing that the SLGB could not pay salaries and pensions. “Pensioners must be taken care of in terms of payment of their salaries and such other benefits,” he said, and added that he was shocked to know that most of them were waiting for payment of their gratuity.
The local government secretary said that he had worked out expenditures of SLGB. The pension contribution in respect of 3067 SCUG retired employees was Rs 305 million, he said. Apart from it, the contribution of maintenance of board was not enough, he added.
Secretary Finance Sohail Rajput said he had worked out that Rs312 million per annum were required to SLGB for payment of pension to SCUG and Rs69.6 million were enough maintenance of the Sindh Local Government Board (SLGB).
Senior Minister for Finance Syed Murad Ali Shah said that he had already gone through the requirement of the SLGB expenditures. All together pension and maintenance expenditures were Rs381.8 million annually. He added that the liabilities of Rs132 million accumulated on account of payment of gratuity/commutation and increased in pension for the year 2014-15 up to 2016 may be released after necessary verification. The chief minister approved the release of Rs 381.8 million and directed the local government minister to ensure proper disbursement to the pensioners.