Abolish perks, they are costly

For about 20 years I have been arguing that the path to true reform in Pakistan will open up with the abolition of perks. The reason being that the current incentive system for government officials is perverse where perks are valued higher than performance. Moreover perks are wasteful.

Today Daily Times carried the following information on the waste associated with perks proving my point.

"GOR I, II + III, IV, V, VI equals Rs 150m in home improvement

* GOR III, IV, V, VI file applications for work likely to cost Rs 51.4 million

By Anwer Hussain Sumra

LAHORE: The Punjab government has been sent 127 requests by officers who are residents of Government Officers’ Residence (GOR) III, IV, V and VI for renovation, alteration and repair – work that is likely to cost Rs 51.4 million – at their official residences, according to sources.

The requests were sent following the lead of GOR I and II residents – who have filed applications for work that is likely to cost Rs 98 million. Judicial officers, District Management Group (DMG) officers, police, doctors and teachers – serving in the BS 17 scale or above and appointed to key slots – are allotted residences in GORs according to their entitlements.

There are 161 ‘A’ category residences in GOR I; four ‘A’ category, 81 ‘B’ category and 36 ‘C’ category in GOR II; 114 ‘B’ category, 105 ‘C’ category and 162 ‘four-room’ category residences in GOR III; 180 ‘C’ category and 60 ‘four-room’ category residences in GOR IV; 100 ‘B’ category residences in GOR V; and 29 ‘B’ category residences in GOR VI.

Following the 121 requests sent by residents of GOR I and II, the sources said 68 requests have been filed by GOR III residents for renovation, tile fittings, marble flooring, tuff pavements, aluminum windows, alterations and wooden cabins in kitchens, wardrobes in washrooms and fences. Work on these requests is likely to cost Rs 28.22 million to make the residences suitable to lead comfortable life, the sources said.

Meanwhile, 26 applicants from GOR IV have asked for Rs 4.7 million for renovations and alteration at their houses. A total of 28 officers from GOR V have asked for Rs 16.83 million for work to improve their residences.

The sources said that while the residences in GOR VI were built in 2003 and 2004, five officers had filed requests for work that would cost Rs 1.6 million.

A number of officials living in other government colonies in the city complained that development funds were being utilised to “satisfy the desires of GOR officers with authority ... while officers in other colonies don’t even have basic facilities”. They said funds were being used for the GORs because “that is where the authority is”. They said those living in GORs were filing applications for “colossal sums of money” at a time when the provincial government was trying to overcome a financial crisis."

DT Jan 23 2010

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