ISLAMABAD - Majority of public sector universities in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) are facing difficulties in pay­ing salaries and pensions to their employees due to the financial crisis.

Many of them have re­quested the HEC and the provincial government for some special grants but they are yet to get any positive response from the government side.

Recently, on April 4, 2020, the University of Peshawar, one of the old universities of KP, has once again approached the KP government and requested for some grants in order to get rid of the further financial crisis in near future.

It was stated in a letter that the university was al­ready short of funds for the last couple of years and the provincial govern­ment and HEC were asked again and again for some special grants but they are yet to respond to the re­quest of the university.

It was further stated in the letter that the univer­sity’s income from stu­dents, shops, guest hous­es, and Bara Gali campus was nil; which has further worsened the financial situation of the university.

Earlier in January, the UoP had informed the provincial government that due to the persis­tent financial crunch, the University of Peshawar would not be able to pay salaries and pensions on 1st February 2020. It was further stated that the worsening financial position of the universi­ty has continuously been brought to the notice of both - the Provincial gov­ernment and the High­er Education commis­sion - for the last several months with the request for a bailout package; however, the university is yet to get the response back from the govern­ment and HEC.

As per the details avail­able with The Nation, the due payment of the uni­versity in the mentioned month was Rs 402 mil­lion and the available balance with it in all the accounts along with the additional grants of HEC was Rs 199 million.

It was also revealed that major cause of the finan­cial shortfall is the insuffi­cient increase in grant over the period of last 12 years, whereby it was not corre­spondingly increased to match the burgeoning ex­penditure on salary and pension as announced by the government over the same time period.

It was mentioned in the letter that against the increase of Rs. 2,089 mil­lion in salary and pen­sion, the increase in gov­ernment and grant for the same period is only Rs.819 million.

The university request­ed for an immediate grant of Rs 200 million to enable it to pay the salaries and pensions. However, an of­ficial in UoP privy to the development informed The Nation that the pro­vincial government has not paid a single rupee to the university; adding that they had taken loans in order to pay salaries and pensions to employees and pensioners.

While answering a question, he said that they hardly paid the sal­aries and pensions of April and have request­ed the government for special grants to pay the salaries of month of May otherwise they will not be able to do so.

Meanwhile, the Agri­culture University Pe­shawar is also facing fi­nancial crisis along with a shortfall of Rs 200 mil­lion and it is too facing is­sues in paying salaries to their employees.

While talking to The Na­tion on phone, an official from the Finance Depart­ment said that the govern­ment has recently given them some Rs 400 million grants after the universi­ty administration had re­quested the provincial government for grants.

He stated that they were still in hot water and the looming crisis is yet to be overcome as the university is still short of funds. Moreover, the Ab­dul Wali Khan University Mardan has cleared its po­sition earlier as due to the lack of budget they are un­likely to pay salaries to its employees for May.

One of the oldest uni­versities of KP, Gomal University, is also suffer­ing financial constrains and it has been facing is­sues in paying pensions to retired employees.

An official on the con­dition of anonymity told The Nation that the uni­versity was facing a lot of issues; adding that short­fall was one of the old is­sues which the universi­ty was facing.