Thursday, September 23

Punjab govt to axe projects, contractual employees

Cash-strapped Punjab government is accelerating its move to get rid of extra burden on its exchequer by doing away with the projects, which are being mainly funded by the provincial administration, and terminating employees recruited on contract.
Seeing this, the Health Department has already placed a ban on expenditures under 15 different heads with the pretext that the money saved in this regard would be diverted for the rehabilitation of the flood affectees and providing them with medical facilities.
However, the adversaries to this move believe that the provincial budget had already allocated money for the working of these hospitals and medical institutes, while there was a lesser possibility of spending this money in the flood-hit since the provincial government needed it in the provincial metropolis for running its day-to-days affairs. However, while adopting this move, the Health Department had averred that these special measures were taken for controlling unnecessary expenditures besides utilising the funds allocated in the budget efficiently which would leave no adverse impact on the provision of healthcare facilities. It was believed that these steps would help save Rs 810million to be spent for providing medical facilities to flood affectees.
On Tuesday, the Information and Analysis Unit was merged into the Punjab Resource Management Programme, and its 10 employees on contract were sent home as well. As per sources, in the same way, various measures are being carried out where the projects and units, which can be merged into other projects or departments, will be flowed into bigger heads. “This is part of the policy to curtail the financial load by trimming extra administrative burden, especially those of employees working on contract,” mentioned the source, while falling short of giving it a name of ‘down-sizing’ – an expression which has become a misnomer for the political bigwigs since public wrath could be ignited. “One can call it down-sizing, but for that matter, the Punjab government should also stop giving favours to political favourites,” demanded the officer.
On Wednesday, Senior Advisor to Chief Minister Zulfiqar Ali Khan Khosa chaired a meeting – attended by administrative secretaries concerned – which encompassed working of the projects, salaries of government officers working in the projects on deputation, financial share of the Punjab government vis-à-vis donors and number of contractual employees. “It is expected that such projects, which are depending heavily on the government financing, and has a large number of employees recruited on contract either by the previous government of the PML-Q or by the present political dispensation, axe will fall on them in two ways – one such projects and units will be abolished, or merged into other departments; secondly, contractual employees will be sent home,” confided a source.
However, this will be done at a slow pace so that the political government does not face public wrath for terminating employees in one go.

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