To the displeasure of the bureaucracy working in Punjab, the Ernst & Young (E&Y) has been assigned the task of calculation of work load as well as the distribution of the superior executive allowance to be given to the senior and junior officers working in Punjab, The Nation has learnt.

The Punjab government would pay approximately one billion rupees to the firm for its services, said the sources. The Secretary Finance Hamid Yaqoob Shaikh didn’t respond despite repeated attempts.

E&Y, one of the ‘big four’ accounting firms and one of the largest professional services firm is a multinational professional services firm headquartered in London. One of the four service lines of the E&Y includes an advisory role in Actuarial, IT Risk and Assurance, Risk, and Performance Improvement.

Official sources in the Punjab Chief Minister’s office told that the provincial hierarchy could not satisfy the chief executive on its proposal to allow executive allowance to other senior officers both from the federal and provincial services.

A proposal in the tenure of former Chief Secretary Punjab Khizar Hayat Gondal was floated and presented to the CM Punjab. In the presentation, the CM Shahbaz had made a query as how all the officers may be given equal allowances irrespective of their job nature. Then the officers presented a B-Plan that addressed the query but the CM Shahbaz was not satisfied. It was conveyed to the CM that officers performing hard assignments in big departments could be given more allowance as compared to those working in small departments like Zakat department etc.

“The CM Punjab didn’t agree with the B-Plan as well and directed the concerned to hire the services of a well-reputed firm to calculate work load of departments as well as officers,” official sources said.“The job assigned to the foreign firm could be done by a committee comprising of the senior officers to save the huge amount of money being paid to the foreign firm,” said one of the senior secretaries in the Civil Secretariat.

“We were demanding a small part of the amount being given to the firm hired for the purpose of calculating work load, ” said the officer adding the committee had held meetings with the officers and collected data. “It will waste time and money to the loss of the competent officers” he feared.It is to be learnt that the Punjab government notified an allowance to the chief secretary, administrative head of the government, to be given Rs 400,000 while the IGP Rs 375,000 other than their salaries.

Meanwhile, the executive allowance for other positions like administrative secretaries, Senior Member Board of Revenue (SMBR), P&D chairman, additional chief secretary, Anti-Corruption Establishment DG, CMIT chairman, director generals, additional secretaries, deputy secretaries were to be given handsome allowances after the nod of the CM office. A handsome amount of Rs 45,000 to Rs 300,000 was to be given to officers falling in different categories.

A proposal was moved to the CM office after the senior officers showed concern over the appointment of junior officers in different projects who draw high packages. Moreover, government officers and private persons working at the helm of affairs at the Health Care Commission, Higher Education Commission, Overseas Pakistanis Commission, Punjab Land Records Authority, Punjab Saaf Pani Company, Punjab Revenue Authority and many others were drawing huge sums of money. A grade-19 officer, Ahad Khan Cheema, was drawing over Rs 1.5 million in an energy project run by the province while a BPS-22 grade chief secretary draws a salary of Rs 173,000 only.

Now, after the Chief Secretary and Inspector General Police failed to get the superior executive allowance the officers’ ray of hope for the same is dimmed.

The Punjab government time and again wrote to the Controller General of Accounts for allotment of a new head of account in the chart of account (CoA) for federal /provincial and district government receipts and disbursement but to no avail.

“As there is no separate object code allotted in this regard, it is requested the following New Object Codes may be allotted in the book of Chart of Accounts” the Punjab government letter dated February 13, 2017, reads. Moreover, the S&GAD also wrote time and again to the relevant quarters also the CGA for a new account for Superior Executive Allowance so that the government could give to the CS, IGP and the registrar.

The accountant general Punjab responded to the Punjab government’s request that an approval from the Controller General of Accounts (CGA) was required besides creation of new heads of account to deliver the allowances.

The CGA on June 20, 2017, while responding to the AG Punjab Lahore and with reference to the decision of LHC dated 9th June 2017 regarding Superior Executive Allowance, the new detailed head of account under is opened in the CoA. But, the CGA opened the account only for the Registrar LHC that otherwise was to be opened for all those whom the superior executive allowance to be given.

When the Punjab government wrote and reminders were sent to the CGA for the issuance of the special codes for the Chief Secretary Punjab and the IGP it was not responded. When the Punjab government sent a reminder to the CGA, it issued the code for the LHC registrar only whom the LHC Chief Justice approved the superior executive allowance in an analogy of the CS and the IGP.

The senior officials in the Punjab government expressed severe concerns over the acts of the CGA and AGP who ignored the Punjab government’s recommendations for the creation of a head of an account for the issuance of the superior executive allowances to the CS and the IGP. They said that the CGA sanctioned the same for a judiciary officer who was already drawing handsome judicial allowance. An officer of the AGP confirmed that the superior executive allowance for the LHC Registrar was issued otherwise it would be contempt of court.

It is to be recalled that the Punjab government in January 2017 had granted Rs400,000 a month allowance to the chief secretary and Rs375,000 to the IGP Punjab. On Feb 9, the chief justice of the LHC granted Rs 400,000 per month to the court`s registrar in an analogy of the CS and the IGP.

There was a great debate among the senior civil as well as police officers on such allowances who said that they were ignored who head departments and other different agencies. On this, the Punjab government also considered their concerns and constituted committees to forward its recommendations. The move created a ray of hope among the administrative secretaries, commissioners, the DGs, additional secretaries, deputy secretaries etc.

Official sources further said that the principal petitioner for getting an approval of the allowances, the outgoing IGP Mushtaq Sukhera, retired without getting it. The other officer CS Punjab too could not get it despite best efforts of the Punjab government.

Sources further said that `the expenditure involved in respect to the chief secretary would be debit-able under provincial account` related to general administration while for the IGP debit-able under the grant meant for the provincial police while for the LHC registrar, the `expenditure involve d will be met out of the administration of justice budget.

An officer of the CS Punjab office said that the dual face of the AGP was reflected when it ignored the Punjab government recommendations for superior executive allowance to its two officers, the CS and the IGP. He said that the CS was drawing just Rs 173,000 a month and the IGP was drawing even less than it.

He said the Punjab government wanted to give the allowances to its top officers for the sensitivity of their job nature. They were 24/7 engaged officers but get much less than they deserved, he asserted. He said that junior officers of the S&GAD in different companies, authorities, and projects get in millions or lacs contrary to the administrative boss who was responsible for all the matters of the provincial government.