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KARACHI: The Sindh Assembly on Thursday passed a bill increasing the salary, allowances, perks and privileges to each legislator from Rs72,600 to Rs145,000 per month with effect from July 1, 2016.

The increase was recommended by the house select committee keeping in view the price hike over the past four years. Last time salaries of lawmakers were revised was in 2013.

The overall impact of the increase in salaries and allowances of the legislators, speaker, deputy speaker, chief minister, ministers, advisers, etc, would be about Rs516 million inflating the bill from Rs584m to Rs1.1 billion. The lawmakers will also be paid Rs600m on account of one-year arrears from July 2016 to June 2017.

However, when compared to the salaries and allowances of the lawmakers of other three provincial assemblies, the revised amount is on the lower side as these in Balochistan are Rs440,000, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Rs153,000 and Punjab Rs83,000 per month.

Members will also be paid Rs600m on account of one-year arrears

A clause was also included in the Sindh Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2017, for compensation of Rs5m to the bereaved family of a lawmaker in case of accidental death.

Under the bill, salaries of the speaker and deputy speaker have been increased to Rs150,000 and Rs140,000, respectively, from Rs80,000 and Rs70,000. The chief minister will now draw Rs150,000 per month against Rs35,000 and Rs20,000 as sumptuary allowance against Rs13,000.

The salary of a minister has been increased to Rs75,000 from Rs30,000 and that of an MPA to Rs50,000 from Rs24,000.

Besides salary, a sum of Rs1,000,000 in a year will be placed at the disposal of the chief minister and 500,000 at the disposal of a minister for making discretionary grants.

The chief minister, speaker and deputy speaker will be entitled to unlimited petrol while a minister and adviser will get 400 litres per month.

A minor amendment was introduced to the bill stating that the legislation would be effective from July 2016, instead of January 2017 as recommended by the house select committee. The annual travelling allowance of an MPA in Punjab, Sindh and KP is Rs120,000 and in Balochistan Rs500,000, but after revision it will be Rs200,000 in Sindh.

Earlier, Senior Minister Nisar Khuhro informed the house that the select committee had made recommendations in the light of the salaries and allowances structure in other provinces. He also pointed out that the leader of the opposition had been given status of a minister and also had an amount for discretionary grant at his disposal.

Speaking on the occasion, Leader of the Opposition Khwaja Izharul Hasan said that grade-19 officers were getting more than the revised salaries. “In fact this honorarium and allowances are not perks of an MPA as this amount will be utilised in setting up offices and staff in the respective constituencies which will contribute to increasing their efficiency,” he said.

After the bill was passed, Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani read out the order of Sindh Governor Mohammad Zubair that after completion of the business the session stands prorogued sine die.

After Question Hour, the chair took up call attention notices. In response to a notice of Kamran Akhtar about water crisis in Baldia Town, Local Bodies Minister Jam Khan Shoro assured him that as proposed by the elected representatives, besides other necessary measures, a new line is being laid to provide relief to the people.

Minister Manzoor Wassan, in response to a call attention notice, assured Sabir Kaimkhani that the work is in progress of laying a 24-inch water pipeline which would be completed by August.

In reply to a call attention notice of Khurram Sherzaman, the local bodies minister said the government had taken measures to ensure water supply to every locality and demolished all illegal hydrants in every district.

Published in Dawn, May 19th, 2017