ISLAMABAD: Loss-making state entity, the Karachi Port Trust (KPT) has sought revision in its tariff to meet the expenditure and capital investment in the port, a parliamentary panel was informed on Tuesday.

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that met under Chairman Noor Alam Khan examined the Audit Report 2021-22 for the Ministry of Maritime Affairs. Members of the committee expressed displease over Rs 6.2 billion payment on account of bonuses to 4,000 employees at the rate of basic pay despite continuous net loss.

An audit official said the KPT paid an amount of Rs 6.2 billion on account of bonuses for the last 10 years (2010-2020) on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Azha. Four bonuses at the rate of four basic pays were paid during the year 2020-21.

All employees were paid without linking it with the individual’s performance and the KPT profit. The audit is of the view that there is a continuous decreasing trend of surplus available to the KPT during the decade and finally, during 2019-20, the surplus of the KPT was not only totally exhausted but the entity registered a deficit of Rs 38 million. However, during 2020-21, there is a slight recovery of surplus due to positive fluctuation of the USD rate reflected surplus of Rs 1.77 billion.

Additional Secretary Incharge Maritime Affairs and former chairman KPT

Syed Muhammad Tariq Huda blamed the CBA to pressurise the management to raise salaries each year and proportion of salaries in total revenue is around 35 percent. “For example, if the revenue of the KPT is Rs28 billion, the expenditure is Rs 26 billion,” he explained.

Since 1994, he said that the tariff of the KPT had not been revised and no revenue was left for development work of KPT.

The PAC chairman said reward of bonus while entity was into losses was unjust and inquiry should be held and responsibility should be fixed.

In another audit para pertaining to the illegal occupation of the KPT land and outstanding dues against oil companies of Rs 3.1 billion, the secretary said that the amount was accumulated on account of 37.5 percent municipal tax which was imposed to be utilised on the construction of roads, sewerage, and other facilities in the area.

However, he said that the companies refused to pay as no development was seen and now the municipal tax would be revised downward to around 18 percent.

The committee further directed to demolish the illegal construction within the port area and outstanding dues of Shell Pakistan and compliance report be submitted to the PAC. The audit official observed that Shall Pakistan Ltd illegally constructed offices in the port area without the approval of the KPT management; however, the KPT has not taken any legal action against the firm nor removed the illegal construction.