KATHMANDU, March 10: The government has decided to provide allowances to the staffers at the parliament secretariat, judiciary and various offices under the Ministry of Finance up to 50 percent of their salaries.
A cabinet meeting on February 4 decided to provide the allowance to the staffers at various government offices with effect from February 13. The government, however, has yet to make the decision public.
According to a copy of the decision obtained by Republica, staffers at those offices must work one hour extra every day and at least 80 hours a month to qualify for the allowance and the head of the department or a secretary-level official at the office concerned has to approve the extra work, reads the letter dispatched to the concerned offices from Prime Minister's Office Secretary Shishir Kumar Dhungana.
Those staffers not meeting the 80 hours threshold may get less than 50 percent of their salaries in allowances.
The decision was taken after the staffers at parliament secretariat agitated demanding allowances for extra work. “The decision has been taken to address our demands,” said Megh Raj Aryal, chairperson of trade union organization at the parliament secretariat in Kathmandu.
Earlier, staffers at different offices including the parliament secretariat had decided not to work extra hours until they get allowances. Staffers at the parliament secretariat were receiving 80 percent of their salaries as allowances, overtime allowances and snacks allowance until July.
The perks and allowances were stopped from mid-July following a government decision to slash allowances at all government offices. In January, the parliament had also reduced the snacks expenses to Rs 250 per day from Rs 600 per day after the Office of the Auditor General in its report put Rs 11.2 million spent under lunch and snacks header under unsettled accounts.
After this, the Ministry of Finance decided to stop the additional allowances including the food allowance. Earlier, the ministry was allocating Rs 7 million a month for the 80 percent allowances which added a minimum of 19,000 to a maximum of 43,000 to the salaries of parliamentary staffers.
The decision has come even though various study panels assigned by the government had criticized the practice of providing extra allowances to the officials working mainly in powerful central offices such as parliament secretariat, the offices of president and the prime minister, finance ministry, the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) and some other constitutional bodies.