Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has approved a guideline for separate pay scales for Bangladesh Bank (BB) and state-owned Banks (SoBs), as proposed by Finance Minister AMA Muhith with a view to introducing market-based salary package.
Mr Muhith, rejecting a report by a secretary-committee on fixation of separate pay scales for BB and SOBs, put forward the basic guidelines to be reflected in the said pay scales for approval from the Prime Minister.
The secretary-committee, headed by former cabinet secretary M. Abdul Aziz, recommended in January, 2011 new pay scales for BB and SoBs, which is similar to that of the government pay scale. The committee also recommended a maximum pay increase of Tk 1,000 for BB and Tk 800 for SoBs including that of Sonali, Janata and Agrani banks' staff in addition to their current pay packages.
The finance minister in his guidelines said the separate pay scale would be different from the government pay scale, and the proposed pay scales for BB and government-owned banks would be market-based and competitive, and the existing facilities like salaries and other perks of the staff concerned would not be affected after the separate scales came into effect.
Furthermore, the approved guidelines for the central bankers and the staff at SoBs said the bank staff with outstanding performances might be given special incentives on top of the annual incentive bonus given normally to all bank staff in case the banks make profits.
Punishment should also be given to bank staff concerned for their failures in duties at the time yearly incentive bonus is credited, the guidelines said.
No lunch or other entertainment allowances will be considered, maintenance for house will be included in the head of house allowance, conveyance and entertainment allowances will be awarded to all concerned, while health allowance will include expenses for medicine and education allowance will be limited to only two children up to the age of 21 of lower level staff.
Currently, nearly 90,000 employees are employed in all SOBs, while about 6,000 are with BB, a finance ministry official said.
The guidelines along with the proposed pay scales for BB and the three SCBs-Sonali, Janata and Agrani Bank Ltd-have been sent to Secretary-Committee last week by the Ministry of Finance (MoF).
Mr Muhith in his proposal sent to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said once the secretary-committee put its opinion on his proposed guidelines and the scales, another final version of the proposal on the issue would be sent to the PM for approval again.
In the proposal, the finance minister said introducing market- based competitive separate pay scales for the BB and government-owned banks and financial institutions was a pledge of the government.
However, MoF officials said BB had to be excluded from the Government Service (reconstitution and conditions) Act, 1975 before introducing the separate pay scale for them.
According to clause 5(1) of the Act, no separate pay scale for any state-owned organisation -- be it fully government or autonomous -- is justified.
The official said such an exercise would not be necessary in the case of three state-owned banks since they had been already excluded from the said Act.
"Completion of formalities like excluding the BB from the Government Service (reconstitution and conditions) Act, 1975 will not be a big deal if policy decision towards the separate pay scale is taken," a senior finance official said.
The Bank and Financial Institution Division under the MoF has submitted the guideline of AMA Muhith on separate pay scale to the secretary-committee concerned, he said.