ISLAMABAD: The Accountant General of Pakistan Revenue (AGPR) is automising pension process in order to expedite finalisation of retirement claims of retired government employees, a representative of the AGPR told a committee formed by the federal ombudsman on Thursday.

Federal Ombudsman Ejaz Ahmad Qureshi while taking cognizance of complaints against delay in disbursement of pension by AGPR and different ministries had constituted the monitoring committee under Mohammad Ayub Tarin, senior adviser and former additional auditor general, to evaluate the implementation status of pension reforms and to figure out as to how the pension payment process could be further simplified to facilitate pensioners.

The committee on Thursday summoned the AGPR and officials from the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Railways, Ministry of National Health Services, Federal Directorate of Education and Association for the Welfare of Retired Persons.

A senior official from AGPR informed the committee that they had started automation of service statements/service books which were on the SAP system and it would facilitate early finalisation of the pension claims. The AGPR assured the committee of finalising the pension cases within 30 days from the day of submission of documents.

He said that pensioners along with their family members were still facing great financial difficulties due to delay in finalisation of pension cases. The representative of AGPR added that though under the directions of the ombudsman secretariat, pension cells had already been established in all ministries and divisions, still lapses were noted in submission of pension cases.

However, in family pension cases, payment of pension was delayed due to some legal issues i.e. declaration of legal heirs, unavailability of bank account of the widow and eligibility of family members. The Ministry of Health Services said no case of pension was pending with them. The Ministry of Railways informed the committee that they were facing serious financial problems in disbursement of pension to its employees and had requested the government for provision of Rs9.8 billion for this purpose. As soon as the funds are received, all dues of pensioners would be cleared.

The Finance Division assured the committee of full cooperation for delegation of powers for approval of pension from the principal accounts officer (federal secretary) to a BS-21 officer in order to expedite the process.

The ombudsman directed all ministries and divisions to ensure maximum facilitation to pensioners in completion of required documents for the grant of pension.

Published in Dawn, April 15th, 2022

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