Why should the KESC chief be paid so much?

When I graduated in 1966, the starting salary for engineers in the KESC was Rs. 450 per month plus a technical allowance of Rs. 50 per month. I didn’t join the KESC because it was a government-owned company in those days and everyone knows that working for the government makes a person corrupt, inefficient and useless. My first salary was six hundred rupees per month (at that time my uncle in Bombay-also an engineer like me-was drawing Rs. 400 p.m. and the Pakistan rupee was slightly higher in value than the Indian rupee).

KESC CEO SalaryOne wonders why salaries are so high nowadays. A couple of years ago the chief executive of Hub Power Company was being paid Rs. 1.8 million p.m. And now we hear that the salary of the new KESC chief (Tabish Gauhar) is 35% higher than what his predecessor was being paid. Mr. Gauhar will draw Rs. 1.3 million per month (U.S. $ 185,000 per year, compared to the U.S. president’s salary of U.S. $ 400,000). In addition, the KESC chief will get free accommodation (up to Rs. 760,000 per month) and other perks (including guards to protect him and his family, annual leave, air fare, medical expenses, etc).

Now, I know that some executives in the banking sector get even higher salaries than this. In fact, some people I know say that the KESC chief should be paid even more. The question arises: why? If the KESC had shown some improvement after privatization, it would have been understandable. But the company is making losses of Rs. fifteen billion per year and its management has not been able to reduce line losses due to rampant theft by power thieves numbering six hundred and fifty thousand. Right now the need of the hour is to cut down on expenses, and one way of doing it is to reduce the salaries and perks given to senior executives (particularly those who work in inefficient companies like the KESC).

It should be remembered that the basic minimum salary in the country is Rs. 6,000 (about seventy dollars) p.m., while sixty million Pakistanis try to survive on less than two dollars a day.


10 thoughts on “Why should the KESC chief be paid so much?”

  1. What a sour article! Look into it buddy, KESC is a private firm. It does not pay its PROFESSIONAL executives from the national exchequer. So we have NO say whatsoever in determining their salaries or perks! Hats off to Tabish Gauhar who took on such a challenge and revived a dead goat. He should be presented with the highest National honours and his business model implemented in ALL government institutions.

    Instead, you should be worried about national institutions like the PIA, Railways, Steel Mills and numerous commissions. Those institutions are being run with OUR tax money and you can very see their fate. Overstaffing, inefficiency, massive debts, megacorruption! They will provide you with a better topic to write on next time 🙂

  2. Your solution is really unacceptable. Instead of finding and catching the power thieves who are large scale industrialists, government institutions, influential politicians and others, you would rather reduce the salaries of professionals, who will actually see this through…

    You should understand that GOOD PEOPLE WANT GOOD MONEY TO WORK! Thieves should pay for theft, NOT PEOPLE AND COMPANY EXECUTIVES!

  3. the equation is as under,

    there are 1,000 millions in a billion
    KESCs annual loss is Rs. 15 billion
    that translates into a loss of Rs. 15,000 millions annually

    i understand that no one expecting Rs. 50,000 p.m. (0.05 million) will be willing or capable enough to turn the above mentioned loss into profit by employing corporate wichcraft. then lets invest Rs. 1.5 million or even Rs. 3.0 million to let someone do this miracle.

    btw
    i started my career as a Project Engineer in SNGPL with a monthly pay of Rs. 18k in 2004.
    a fresh engineer gets a start of Rs. 27k in SNGPL nowadays.

  4. @shakir
    definitely a valid point…………bt dis corporate mafia iz out of control……..read sumwhere dat while US taxpayers were bailing out while elephants like GM, CITIBANK etc………there ceo’s were still gathering yearly bonus!

  5. tayab
    good point. in most of the big cities the services are declining but people are having to pay more and more. one major reason is that the population of cities keeps growing as more and more people move to cities but the geographical size and infrastructure remains the same. the population rise leads to higher prices and low living standard. the development should be spread more evenly in the country and for that government will have to invest in infrastructure in all places.

  6. @ Hend: Depending upon the university, a fresh engineering graduate or MBA can get Rs. 15,000 to Rs. 30,000 p.m. (fresh MBAs from prestigious universities like LUMS or IBA command even greater salaries than this). But the job market isn’t as good now as it used to be a year ago. Many high-paid Karachi executives have been laid off or transferred from Karachi to Lahore or other places. Although it’s not so bad for a Lahore resident to live in Karachi or any other major city in Pakistan, anyone who’s lived in Karachi all his life would rather quit than work in any other city in Pakistan (unless, of course, he had no other choice).

  7. Though salaries seem very high, we have to also consider the cost of living, real estate and food.

    One friend in the engineering industry told me that his salary had risen by 12 times between 1998 and 2007.

    The starting salaries for fresh graduates in many fields had gone up from Rs. 8,000-18,000 p.m. in to 2,00,000-3,50,000 p.m. during the same period.

    Real estate prices are higher. A cup of coffee in a mall or multiplex costs Rs.50-100 and a movie ticket from Rs.120 (discounted weekday morning) to Rs.250…a bowl of noddles or a plate of kebabs in a very modest restaurant costs Rs.180…ofcourse these are India prices so I assume something similar in Pakistan.

  8. Can you give some examples of what the CEOs of other companies and private sector are getting? Generally the salaries plus benefits at comparative levels accross the industry cannot be too different otherwise people will leave less paying companies.

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