Budget cuts for universities, HEC hires consultants on high salaries

Defying the austerity measures of Prime Minister Imran Khan, the Higher Education Commission (HEC) of Pakistan is hiring consultants on high salaries, Academia learned on Monday.

According to reliable sources at HEC, the Commission is hiring around 10 consultants against BPS 21 and paying them Rs 300,000 to Rs4 400,000 per month besides other perks and privileges. Other perks and privileges include luxury cars, TADA and other BPS 21 facilities.

The sources said that there are already more than 800 employees, a number of advisors and nine Director Generals (DGs) working in HEC. “This hiring of 10 consultants is just being done to oblige some people. This type of hiring is being done for the first time in the 15 years history of HEC,” sources said.

It is pertinent to mention here that HEC had asked universities for austerity measures after the government cut the HEC budget. The decision affected 194 universities across the country and it was widely criticized by the academicians.

According to sources the hiring of these consultants is illegal as per Act of HEC which claimed that no person other than HEC Chairman and Executive Director can be member of HEC. The Act further says that all the employees should be hired as per the rules and regulations of the federal government. However, these consultants are hired on a temporary basis.

These consultants include Consultant for Policy and Legal Affairs Dawood Muneer, Consultant ITMIS Rizwan Rashid, Consultant Finance Arshad, IT Consultant Asif, Consultant National Academy for Higher Education Sara Zaman, Consultant Institution Reforms Fazal Abbas, Consultant CPEC Gen (Retd) Muhammad Asghar, Legal Advisor Mansoor Tariq and others.

When contacted Chairman HEC Dr Tariq Banuri said that all these consultants were hired after the approval of Commission and these hiring were on temporary basis.

Related: HEC Commission Restores Chairperson’s Powers

HEC Receives A Meagre Share In The Budget 2019-20

The federal government has allocated funds of Rs29 billion for on-going and new schemes, in comparison to the previous allocation of Rs46 billion to HEC in the budget 2018-19. Out of the total budget allocated by the government, Rs4159.782 million would be spent on new development schemes, while Rs24887.100 million would be used to for the completion of old schemes under National Development Programme 2019-20.