Employees protest discontinuation of incentives, PSQCA offices closed across major cities, ports

Revenue-based incentives and housing facilities for the department’s employees halted

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority (PSQCA), a crucial department under the Ministry of Science and Technology, faced a complete shutdown of its offices in Karachi, Lahore, Hyderabad, Islamabad, and other major cities for the second consecutive day on Friday. This development ensued from a protest organized by PSQCA employees over the discontinuation of their incentives.

Officials reported that not only were offices in various cities closed, but operations at ports were also suspended by employees, affecting the inspection and clearance of select food and non-food items. According to protesting employees, the withdrawal of previously provided incentives has led to this protest.

Previously, employees benefited from incentives equivalent to 10 percent of the revenue generated by PSQCA, disbursed biannually as a performance reward, a practice established by the Board of Directors in 2005. However, recent decisions by the Board have halted this practice, much to the dissatisfaction of the employees.

Furthermore, the Board has allegedly ceased the provision of housing facilities for PSQCA employees in smaller cities. According to an official source, the Ministry, through the board, suspended the facility to employees in response to audit objections regarding bonuses. 

However, employees claim that the Public Accounts Committee had cleared the audit objections. They argue that what the Ministry needed to do is to amend the service rules of the authority, which is a self-financed entity. They allege that the former secretary of MoST, Ali Raza Bhutta, made the decision to withdraw the facility due to personal issues with the authority.

It may be mentioned here that PSQCA, as the National Standard Body (NSB), was established through an Act of Parliament (Act-VI of 1996). Its main functions include formulating National Standards, conducting Conformity Assessments, testing products, and overseeing Metrology.

It enforces marks scheme National Standards under compulsory/voluntary certification marks schemes, and conducts inspection and testing of products and services for their quality specifications and characteristics during use, import, and export purposes. Additionally, PSQCA advises the Government on standardization policies, programmes, and activities to promote industrial efficiency, development, and consumer protection.

Ghulam Abbas
Ghulam Abbas
The writer is a member of the staff at the Islamabad Bureau. He can be reached at [email protected]

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