Ministry asked to draft honorarium policy for approval by upcoming govt

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ISLAMABAD: Amid strong media criticism and outrage of federal government employees over being fooled by outgoing prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi about three basic salaries as honorarium, it seems as if the outgoing federal cabinet tried to again fool the public by directing the finance division to prepare a new policy regarding the grant of honorarium to federal employees.

According to documents available with Pakistan Today, the cabinet directed the finance division to present a new policy for grant of honorarium to the upcoming elected government for approval.

The cabinet considered the summary on May 29, 2018, submitted by the finance division, for the grant of special performance incentives to the officers/officials of the federal government and decided as under that up to three honorariums may be allowed to employees of ministries/divisions by the ministers/principal accounting officers.

In addition to this, the minister for finance may approve honorarium for prime minister’s office, besides finance, and revenue and planning development and reforms divisions. Moreover, the finance division will provide funds to ministries for payment of honorariums, if required.

The matter of providing honorariums to the federal employees surfaced last week when PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi issued orders that all employees of the federal government should be given honorarium equivalent to three basic pays for the financial year 2017-18.

The notification issued in this regard further said that the prime minister has desired that for the financial year 2018-19 and onwards, a policy may be formulated by the newly elected government after elections 2018.

Soon after the notification surfaced, the high-ups of finance ministry called a meeting and deliberated on this matter as sources said that the high-ups of finance ministry were in shock that how can the PM office issue a letter without taking the ministry into confidence. The overall financial impact of this decision was around Rs60 to Rs70 billion and finance ministry right now has not anything to pay to employees.

It is pertinent to mention here that the honorarium is paid to those officers who participate in the budget preparation and while the employees of the finance division were awarded six honorariums, the officials of other federal government departments got only one honorarium.