PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government failed to pay the September salary to its employees on Saturday, the first day of October, amid concerns about the province’s financial health.

Finance minister Taimur Saleem Jhagra confirmed the issue but said the government servants would receive remuneration tomorrow (Monday).

The district account offices issued letters to the National Bank of Pakistan regarding the delay in salary payment to the worry of government employees with some blaming it on a brewing financial crisis due to the non-payment of the province’s dues by the centre.

The letters by the Kohat and Bajaur district controllers of accounts to the NBP’s local branches went viral on social media.

They read, “We have received telephonic information from the accountant general KP that the processing of salary for September 2022, may be withheld because of some systemic work/change in SAP system by the Director FABS, controller General of Accounts, Islamabad. “In response to this [communication], it was informed that the salary of the said month has already been processed and cheques in this regard have been issued as well on September 25 by this office.”

Minister says remuneration to be paid tomorrow

Through the letters, the district account offices were directed to approach the relevant NBP branches ‘not to credit or post salary to other banks,where salary accounts of government employees are maintained’.

Finance minister Taimur Saleem Jhagra wrote on his Facebook page that all salaries to the government employees would be paid ‘on time next week’.

“The province is ensuring that it manages the financial crisis created by the non-payment of dues by the federal government,” he said.

Mr Jhagra didn’t respond to a Dawn phone call and WhatsApp message.

When contacted, a senior finance department official claimed that the September salary would be paid to the government employees on Monday.

Meanwhile, sources told Dawn that despite financial crisis, payment of salary was likely to happen on Monday or Tuesday.

They said the provincial government required Rs42 billion to pay salary and pension every month but currently, its financial situation was very precarious.

Earlier last month, finance minister Jhagra had said the province faced a shortage of Rs275 billion funding due to the non-payment of its net hydel profit dues, merged areas share in funds, and payments for flood losses.

Our Correspondent from Swabi adds: All government employees and pensioners complained in the district didn’t receive their September payments on Saturday amid concerns.

An official in the district accounts office told Dawn on condition of anonymity that the relevant provincial officials stopped the office from releasing monthly salary to government employees for the time being.

He said the public sector employees in the entire province didn’t get salary unlike the previous months.

The official said Saturday and Sunday were closed days, so it was likely that instructions about salary payment would be received from the office of the Provincial Accountant General on Monday (Oct 3).

Another official said he had no idea about the reason for delay in salary and pension payments.

“We’re to follow the orders we got from the office of the accountant general office, so we did that,” he said.

The official said if the district accounts office was asked to pay salary to the employees, it released that money to the banks for dispersal to employees through their personal accounts.

Some officials claimed that the salary would be given away on Monday.

Meanwhile, the leaders of employees of public sector departments criticised the PTI government over the issue and said for the first time in the province’s history, the government employees didn’t receive salary on time.

They said the issue was caused by the ‘incompetence’ of the rulers.

Provincial general secretary of the All Government Employees Grand Alliance Abid Hussain told Dawn that employees of public sector organisations had monthly salary as the only source of their income and if its payment was delayed, then they suffered massively.

Provincial president of the Malgary Ustazan Amjad Ali said the government should give up justifying the delay in salary payment and ensure its immediate release to ease the employees’ misery.

Published in Dawn, October 2nd, 2022

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