Originally Published at THENEWS!
Employees turn millionaires overnight; Govt gives 12pc of shareholding in PPL to employees
SUI: Hundreds of junior-cadre workers of the state-run Pakistan Petroleum (PPL) became millionaires overnight after getting ownership certificates of their company under the Benazir Employees Stock Option scheme.
Many of these employees belong to Dera Bugti district, where Pakistan’s largest and one of the oldest gas fields is located.
Clad in traditional Balochi-style shalwar-kamiz and big turbans, Bugti tribesmen chanted pro-government slogans as they received share certificates on Sunday from Federal Petroleum Minister Naveed Qamar at a ceremony held at the Sui Gas Field. PPL Managing Director Khalid Rehman and other senior officials were also present.
The government has distributed 12 per cent of its shareholding in PPL among the company’s permanent employees – each getting a unit on a year of completed service.
Each unit has 2,307 shares, which means an employee received a minimum of Rs440,867 rupees on the basis of Monday’s closing price of Rs191.10 per PPL share at the Karachi Stock Exchange.
Many of the employees have served the company for 20 to 25 years, which means they are now entitled to around Rs8 to 12 million each.
“Now you are the owner of the company. Any loss of PPL will be your loss,” Qamar said amid loud applause. “Pakistan is faced with a severe energy crisis and it’s up to you people to work diligently to increases the gas production.”
As many as 2,700 permanent employees – from peons, clerks to senior managers – benefited from the scheme aimed at motivating the workforce for better results.
These shares cannot be sold in the market and remain redeemable only on retirement.
They will be transferred to a trust managed by equal representatives of employees and the ministry of petroleum. Half of the dividend will go to employees, while rest to Privatisation Commission.
Abdul Qayum, 47, a technician at Sui gas field, who has been with PPL for the last 27 years, said he and his family were jubilant on receiving such a hefty amount. “There were only rumours about the scheme. But now this dream has become a reality… Now all my children will go to university.”
Qamar, the petroleum minister, said the government was under fire from some quarters because of this scheme, which entitled an employee to millions on retirement. It was good at motivating the workforce when they were made owners of their company, he said.
The minister said it would also help to end the sense of deprivation in Balochistan, where a low-intensity insurgency had been raging for the past several years.
“We have used their resources to run industry and even our automobiles for so long, but these locals have remained poor.”
About deteriorating security situation in the volatile province, he said the past governments only focused on administrative measures, including security and ignored political steps needed to resolve the issue.
“The PPP government has introduced Aghaz-e-Haqooq-e-Balochistan package and constitutional reforms to remove the mistrust,” he said. “I cannot say we will make this place a heaven, but it’s an effort to heal past wounds.”
Qamar also performed groundbreaking of a PPL-funded hospital in Sui – the first, which is being constructed outside the high security zone of the gas field.
Sui has remained the single largest gas producing field of the country since 1955. But attacks by Baloch separatists demanding greater autonomy has seriously hampered further exploration. PPL has just recently started drilling its 92nd well here after a gap of five years.