ISLAMABAD -  Provinces have decided to pay salaries to provincial directors, posted in the Petroleum Division, from their own pockets after the federal government’s refusal to pay salaries to them.

In the 34th meeting of the Council of Common Interests (CCI), Sindh’s Chief Minister Murad Al Shah, told the Prime Minister Khaqan Abbasi that if they (centre) are not ready to pay salaries to the provincial directors then they (provinces) will pay provincial directors from their own resources, official sources told The Nation.

“We will pay our directors posted in Directorate General of Petroleum Concessions (DGPC) but then they will not be subservient to the federal government,” said chief minister Sindh. The Sindh CM decision was also endorsed by the chief ministers of other provinces . The provincial directors will stay in DGPC as provincial representatives.

The source said that now initially the provinces will pay the provincial directors from the Provincial Holding Companies and later they will be paid from the provincial finance ministry.

The federal government is not paying salaries to the provincial directors working in Directorate General of Petroleum Concessions (DGPC) Petroleum Division, even after 33 months of their joining. In October 2016, the federal government agreed to provide MP-II scale to the provincial directors but the decision was not executed. The official said that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had nominated its director to DGPC in 2014, followed by Balochistan, Sindh and Punjab, but so far no salaries were paid by the federal government. The provinces have demanded several times about the finalisation of pay structure for the provincial directors working in DGPC; however, in violation of Petroleum Policy 2012 and 18th amendment the federal government is not paying any salaries.

Giving details about the issue, the source said that Article 172(3) of the Constitution inserted in the Constitution of Pakistan through Constitution (18th Amendment) Act 2010 defines the ownership of provinces and federal government in mineral oil and natural gas. According to the petroleum policy, “Subject to the existing commitments and obligations, mineral oil and natural gas within the provinces or the territorial waters adjacent thereto shall vest jointly and equally in that province and federal government”.

In pursuance of Article 172(3), the Council of Common Interests (CCI) approved Petroleum Policy 2012 formulated by Ministry of Petroleum. The said policy calls for re-organization of Directorate General of Petroleum Concessions (DGPC).

Regarding the payment of salaries to provincial directors, the source said that according to the Petroleum Policy 2012 provincial directors and CFO shall draw their pay from a separate fund to be established at DGPC. Finance Division has also made it clear that the said fund has to be established by the Petroleum Ministry.

To resolve the issue, the government had constituted Anomaly Committee to remove the anomalies and difficulties faced by the provinces in the implementation of 18th amendments in the oil and gas sector. Earlier, the provinces were demanding MP-1 salaries for their directors; however, after the federal government told them that they can only give them MP-2 salaries the provincial government agreed with the decision. In the committee meeting, the federal government has refused to offer MP-1 pay scale to the provincial directors as usually this pay scale is being offered to MDs, CEOs and other high officials, the official said.

The committee in its meeting held on October 3, 2016, decided that salaries to provincial directors will be paid out of DGPC Training Fund, salary will be Rs2,50,000 per month (all inclusive), arrears to KP Director will be paid at the rate of his last drawn salary from government at the time of his retirement in March 2015 after execution of formal employment/service contract with DGPC. It was also decided that in case the provincial representative in DGPC is a government official he will just get deputation allowance but if he/she is not the government official then they will get MP-II salary per month, the source added.

After disappointed from the federal government, the provinces have decided to pay these directors from their own kitty as they want to keep their representative in DGPC. The federal government wanted to get rid of these directors but the provinces will never allow it, the source said.