ISLAMABAD: Amidst the pen down strike being observed by the employees of Accountant General Pakistan Revenue (AGPR), the All Pakistan Audit and Accounts Combined Association on Sunday held a protest demonstration against the discriminatory distribution of salaries and other incentives of federal and provincial employees.
Addressing the protesters, Anwar Shah, the chairman of the association, stated that the protest will continue until the fulfillment of their demands of increase in salaries and promotions. He clearly stated that the accounts department of AGPR will remain closed until their demands are met.
The employees demand an increase in salary equivalent to the proposed increments for the employees of Federal Secretariat. In addition to this, they have also asked for a grant of 20 per cent special allowance at par with Federal Secretariat employees which was granted to them in 2013. Moreover, they have also asked for the grant of seat for promotion from the quota pending with the controller general of the accounts office for the past couple of months.
According to the calculations of AGPR, the monthly pay roll of federal government employees is Rs21.4 billion, out of which Rs10.2 billion is their average basic pay. If the government increases the monthly basic pay of underprivileged departments by 100 per cent, it would have an impact of Rs4.97 billion on the national exchequer. Similarly, if the government increases the basic of pay of underprivileged departments, then the impact would be Rs1 billion. If the government agrees to their demand for special allowance then the impact would be Rs8.72 million.
The All Pakistan Audit and Accounts Combined Association also held a meeting with secretary finance with regard to their proposals. Officials said that the secretary finance assured them that their salaries would be increased in the next budget as Finance Division has established a committee on the instructions of Prime Minister Imran Khan to end the discriminatory salary behaviour among the federal government departments.
On Thursday, Accountant General Sardar Azmat Shafi had written a letter to the federal finance secretary to forward the demands of the protesting employees.
According to the letter, AGPR employees throughout the country had not received, processed or paid any claims/bills for the last four days, blocking the payment functions of the federal government and posing a threat to the complete shutdown of government functioning. The strike is not only limited to the main Islamabad office but also at the sub offices in different provinces.
Meanwhile, the Finance Division had said that on the instructions of Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, separate meetings of secretary finance, as well as special secretary finance, were held with the protesting employees to better understand their perspective and issues.
The statement had said that the government understood and acknowledged the difficulties and economic constraints faced by the federal government employees and in view of their concerns which were raised in the meetings, a proposal for a suitable raise in their salaries would be prepared by factoring in the overall economic situation, and available fiscal space and incorporated in the upcoming federal budget 2020-21.
It is pertinent to mention here that the employees of the Federal Secretariat are also on strike for the last few days and on Friday, they had also staged a protest against the government in front of Parliament House.