Parliamentarians are likely to enjoy health cover and lifetime pension facilities from the taxpayer money with the start of next financial year (FY) 2017-18, as necessary preparations to make such proposals part of the upcoming federal budget are in process.
Sources informed Pakistan Today that Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has given assurance to the members of upper and lower houses about the provision of more incentives and privileges during the upcoming fiscal year.
They said the federal government is making necessary preparations to make the proposals part of next year’s budget that is asking for lifetime pensions, insurance, and health cards etc facilities to the parliamentarians. The proposals seeking more privileges and incentives for parliamentarians will soon be presented in a joint committee of three ministries including law, finance, and parliamentary affairs for necessary approval.
They said proposed incentives and privileges are to some extent similar to the incentives and privileges that are available to the members of European and Indian parliament.
“National exchequer will bear an additional burden of above Rs 3billion annually if the proposals regarding the provision of lifetime pension, health and insurance cards facilities for parliamentarians got necessary and final approval from the parliament,” sources said.
The sources also said that after the approval of proposed privileges and incentives from the parliament, all parliamentarians will be able to obtain health facilities from any private hospital in the country and national assembly or senate secretariats will clear their bills. Similarly, all those parliamentarians who complete five years term will be able to enjoy lifetime pension facilities, they added.
Although Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government had increased the salaries of parliamentarians by 146 per cent in October 2016, yet the parliamentarians from all political parties have paved the path to obtaining the privileges and incentives like of pension, insurance, and health cards etc during the next financial year.
Interestingly, per month salary of each parliamentarian stands at Rs 0.15million, while the salary of the speaker of the National Assembly and Senate chairman has reached over 0.2m after a record increase of 146 pc on October 1, 2016 by the incumbent regime.
However, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) MNA Shugafta Jummani earlier submitted a bill regarding availability of more privileges and incentives for parliamentarians in a meeting of the standing committee on parliamentary affairs. All the political parties in the parliament including Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), the MQM, the JUI-F etc have supported the said bill.
The sources further informed that the finance minister has so far given his willingness to ensure more facilities for the parliamentarians over their pressing demands. They said Ishaq Dar has earlier assured the parliamentarians about the approval of pension, health cards and insurance policy through the federal budget for FY 2017-18.
Besides, all efforts to get some official words on the above said information from Mian Abdul Manan, the chairman of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Parliamentary Affairs remained in vain. He did not respond to various calls and text messages on his contact number, which is given on the official website of the National Assembly.