PESHAWAR: The salaries and pensions of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government employees, which were increased in the budget for 2022-23, may be delayed this year because of a squabble between the provincial and federal governments.
Like the federal government, the PTI-led government had announced a 16% increase in government employee salaries. Pensions were raised 15%. The decision comes at a time when Pakistan is crippled by skyrocketing inflation.
“We are facing financial problems from the federation,” Taimur Saleem Khan Jhagra, the finance minister, told Aaj News. “Payments have been withheld by the State Bank of Pakistan.”
Despite saying they may be salary delays, Jhagra told Aaj News that there was “nothing to worry about.”
Sources in the Accountant General’s Office confirmed what Jhagra was saying. They said that they had no money to pay salaries and pensions and there might indeed be a delay.
They said that the federal government had stopped making payments. This had created difficulties for the KP Finance Department. The AG Office provincial payments have also been withheld.
Jhagra’s fears that KP staff might not be paid on time, is just the latest warning shot in a longstanding problem. A few weeks ago, while presenting the budget, Jhagra had said on the floor of the House that the federal government was not putting in more of a share for KPs development funds for the merged districts and other projects. And so, the tussle appears to not just be limited to a delay in payments, but a shrunken pie as well.
In a series of tweets on Thursday night, Jhagra had expressed concerns over the Finance Division’s lack of attention to the province’s development.
“1. An MoU for an arbitrary Rs 117 billion surplus! Sorry, not how a federation works! a. Transfer Sehat Card for ex-FATA with funding, as committed to KP. b. Increase the ex-FATA budget with mutual agreement, to cover cost and expansion. c. Immediately revive the NFC. c. Commit to revive the NFC to ensure both an interim solution & a permanent solution for funding flows for ex-FATA is found; the NFC is updated to the latest population numbers, and the longstanding issue of NHP is also addressed. d. Our monthly NHP dues are cleared,” he said.
“The finance division will have to address KP’s concerns, for the province to be in any position to commit to a shared understanding on fiscal responsibility,” he said.