PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on Friday witnessed rare moments as the treasury and opposition benches stood together and unanimously approved salary increase for its members, speaker, and deputy speaker.

The assembly approved the report of its special committee after it proposed changes under the pay structure of the members, speaker, and deputy speaker as a result they would see their monthly salaries and allowances going up significantly.

“The committee felt that the public representatives’ salaries did not increase in proportion to price hike and furthermore most of the public representatives belong to the middle class as a result they find sustenance difficult under the existing salaries and privileges,” the committee provided basis for the increase in its report.

Set up on Jan 7, 2014 to look into the pay structure and recommend improvements after preparing a comparative analysis of the provincial legislators’ salaries in all four provinces, the committee involving members from both sides worked at the lightening speed and compiled the report in about two and a half month time.

Members of the provincial assembly’s monthly salary and allowances will grow from Rs36,000 to Rs93,000. Also, they will see their ‘additional travelling allowance’ go up from Rs40,000 per annum to Rs120,000 per year.

As per the committee’s proposal, the MPAs’ monthly salary would be increased from the existing Rs12,000 per month to Rs18,000 per month; telephone allowance from Rs5000 per month to Rs10,000 per month; sumptuary allowance from Rs5000 per month to Rs10,000; utility allowance from Rs3,000 per month to Rs4,800 per month whereas office maintenance allowance would remain static at Rs10,000 per month. Their additional travelling allowance would go up from Rs40,000 per year to Rs120,000 per year.

Besides, two new allowances have also been approved for the MPAs. Each one of the 124 members of the provincial assembly would get an amount of Rs30,000 per month as house rent and another amount of Rs9,000 per month as medical allowance. They would continue to receive accommodation allowance of Rs1,600 per diem whereas their session allowance of Rs1,000 per diem has been scrapped after changes in their pay structure.

Apart from the additional travelling allowance, each one of the members would also get another new allowance – conveyance allowance – at the rate of Rs640 per day.

The committee has also asked for revising upward the salaries of the provincial ministers, advisors, special assistants, and parliamentary secretaries.

In line with its recommendation, the monthly salary of the assembly’s speaker would jump to Rs80,000 per month from the existing salary of Rs30,500 per month; sumptuary allowance to Rs20,000 per month from Rs8,000 per month; and house rent to Rs70,000 per month from Rs16,000 per month. The speaker would also get Rs18,000 per month as medical allowance – which is a new allowance. And this is not the only new allowance that the speaker would get from now onward as in line with the committee’s recommendation the speaker would now also get Rs200,000 per year as ‘additional travelling allowance’.

In addition, he would see his daily allowance grow from Rs1,000 per diem to Rs2,000 per diem.

However, the committee has apparently let a lacuna in the pay structure of the speaker as previously he was entitled to have two official cars and the report tabled before the assembly on Friday left the column of ‘transport’ blank.

The report has been prepared under legal cover of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (salaries and allowances of members) Act, 1974.

Similarly, the columns of ‘electricity and gas’ and ‘medical facilities’ have also been left blank in an escape from until now as the speaker was entitled to ‘actual amount’ on account of electricity and gas expenses whereas the medical facilities were covered under the medical attendance rules, 1959.

The speaker’s discretionary fund has also been increased from the existing upper limit of Rs500,000 per annum to Rs1 million per year whereas against a travelling allowance of Rs3 per kilometer he would now get Rs15 per kilometer. Previously, the speaker was also entitled to get Rs500,000 compensation in case of ‘air accident/death’. The report approved by the assembly on Friday is silent as it has not mentioned anything under this head.

Like the speaker and the individual MPAs, the deputy speaker would also get his salary and allowances increase and now he would see his monthly salary going up from Rs27,000 per month to Rs54,000 per month; sumptuary allowance going up from Rs8,000 per month to Rs10,000 per month; house rent to be jacked up from Rs35,000 per month to Rs55,000 per month; and the allowance of ‘official residence complete furnishing by government’ would go up from the existing upper limit of Rs100,000 to Rs1 million.

However, it has not been mentioned that the last of the allowances would be once in a year or once in his term in the office.

The deputy speaker would now be entitled to a new allowance of ‘additional travelling allowance’ of Rs150,000 (per annum). His discretionary allowance has been increased from Rs300,000 per annum to Rs500,000 per annum. Previously, he was entitled to the First Class air travel and now he would be legible to travel in the business class. His travelling allowance (by road) has also been increased from the existing Rs3 per kilometer to the new limit of Rs15 per kilometer.

Besides, the deputy speaker would also get his ‘leave salary in case of leave granted to the speaker of deputy speaker may be’ from the existing level of Rs27,000 per month to Rs54,000 per month. This facility would be available for a maximum of three months in a year.

The committee has also recommended that the salaries and allowances of the elected representatives should in future be increased in proportion to the pay raise approved for the grade-20 civil servants from time to time in accordance with the provincial assembly of Sindh and the national assembly whose members’ salaries are increased in accordance with the rise in salary of grade-22 officers.

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