. . . But Radio Pakistan faces default

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WHILE the country might avoid a default due to sharp and focused attention of the authorities concerned, one of the premier national institutions — Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation (PBC), popularly known as Radio Pakistan — is definitely in serious trouble due to apathy of those at the helm of affairs.

The organisation, which served as a mother institute of journalism in Pakistan, has already defaulted as the management is unable to disburse pensions and the possibility of a default on account of payment of salary to its employees is imminent if no remedial measures were taken on a priority basis.

PBC is a statutory corporation engaged in public service and the government is duty bound to take care of its financial requirements like other public service organizations.

In fact, every year, the Federal Budget allocates grants for the Corporation but not enough even to meet pay and pension payments and the difference in income and expenditure increases every time the government announces a pay raise for its employees.

There were times when PBC had a lucrative pay structure, which attracted talented people to join Radio Pakistan but in the face of repeated cuts in annual grants, the Corporation was forced to adopt the government pay scales in the hope that it would end its financial woes but the problem persists due to discriminatory attitude towards the organization.

Radio Pakistan has the necessary infrastructure and potential to defend ideological frontiers of the country in the face of an intense propaganda campaign by our enemies provided it is reformed and modernized.

But not to speak of provision of resources for investment in modern transmitters and equipment, the situation has deteriorated to such an extent that the organization is finding it difficult to ensure smooth payments of salaries and pensions.

PBC also default on pension payment on the occasion of last Eid and the issue caught attention of the Prime Minister as well but regrettably only a transitory arrangement was made and the issue has cropped up again as PBC could pay only 50% pension to its retired personnel for October, compounding woes of the senior citizens in this age of hyperinflation.

It is also an issue of mismanagement as the budgetary allocations meant for pension were diverted to pay increased salary and allowances to serving employees after adoption of the government scales, whereas the additional payment should have been made after lining up funds from the Finance Ministry and not at the cost of pensioners.

As there are genuine apprehensions that PBC might not be able to pay at all salaries and pensions next month, the authorities concerned, especially Ministers for Information and Broadcasting and Finance may take prompt notice of the situation because it relates to economic survival of thousands of families.

 

 

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