LAHORE - After apex court slashed huge sums from salaries of public sector company CEOs, the Punjab government has posted junior officers as heads of the waste management companies.

Earlier, senior officers usually from the federal service had been posted as CEOs of the public sector companies. Now, there is not a single officer from Pakistan Administrative Services (PAS) posted as the CEO.

Earlier, during the Shehbaz Sharif government, senior officers had been posted as company CEOs on huge remunerations. The heads were awarded salaries up to Rs2 million in addition to houses and vehicles allowances. The Punjab government had given loans to companies for the first time and a mandate to sustain later. Majority of the companies consumed huge amounts without returning to the exchequer. Some companies could not even start functioning despite getting huge money from the government accounts.

The Punjab government had established over six dozen public sector companies in the province to ‘speedily’ accomplish work.

Moreover, companies were free from auditory complications.

The government posted Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of Lahore, Rawalpindi, Faisalabad, Gujranwala and Multan Solid Waste Management Companies (WMCs).

As per the notifications, great 17 officers including Khalid Nazir was posted as CEO of the LWMC while Kashif Raza Shahzad Awan as Faisalabad WMC CEO, Asim Ayub as Rawalpindi WMC CEO, Atiq ur Rehman as Gujranwala WMC CEO and Abdul Jabbar as Multan WMC CEO.

There were at least 346 government officers working in the companies and authorities as per the list furnished to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) by the Punjab administration.

A senior functionary of the Punjab government said that as the perks had been cut and there are no more privileges for the CEOs so PAS officers had no interest in the top positions.

As per details, CEO of National Thermal Power withdrew Rs2 million per month from the provincial exchequer, CEO of Knowledge Park withdrew Rs1.4 m, CEO of Clean Water Company North withdrew Rs1.3 m, CEO of Clean Water Company South withdrew Rs1.35 m and CEO of Skill Development Company was hired at a mammoth salary of Rs1.1 m per month.

Likewise, Punjab Urban Development’s CEO withdrew Rs6 lakhs, CEO of Punjab Investment and Trade Company withdrew Rs8 lakhs whereas CEO of Punjab Model Bazar Rs6 lakhs per months.

A senior officer said that public sector companies had been working in violation of Article 140 of the Constitution. He said that the dozens of public sector companies had also made political appointments just to oblige people.

Former government functionaries had confessed that there were financial issues on functional level in the companies.

 Moreover, it was also alleged that below merit people were posted in companies. In the Lahore Knowledge Park Company a bachelor degree holder was posted as CEO and a handsome salary of Rs 900,000 per month was given to him. The AGP had also pointed out Rs 80 billion irregularities in this sector.

Moreover, officers posted in some companies got handsome house-rent from the companies while they were holding official residences. Higher Education Department Additional Secretary Shahid Zaman Mehmand was hired as COO on Rs 800,000 salary and he also got house rent despite holding an official residence.

It is to be recalled that there were political appointments in these companies during the last regime. The interim set up had removed them through an executive order.

A former Waste management company CEO on anonymity commented on posting of junior officers that one purpose could be rapid outsourcing of the companies on the pattern of LWMC and RWMC which had been outsourced to Al-Bayrak and Ozpak, Turkish contractors. He, however, alleged that the companies had badly failed to establish landfills and installation of waste to energy plants too.