ISLAMABAD: A parliamentary panel on Friday observed that appointment of directors general Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) without proper rules was illegal and irregular in the past and the authority should frame the rules under Civil Aviation Act.
A sub-committee of Public Accounts Committee (PAC) examined audit reports of Aviation Division for financial year 2013-14, 2015-16, 2017-18 and 2018-19 under convener Raja Riaz.
Shoukat Ali, Secretary Aviation & Chairman CAA Board informed the committee that the division would submit two drafts containing Civil Aviation Bill 2020 and Civil Aviation Authority Ordinance (Amendment) Bill 2020 to the Cabinet Committee for Disposal of Legislative Cases (CCLC) within one week.
The drafts were already vetted by the Law Division.
He maintained that the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) Board had already granted in principal approval for amendment in the CAA Service Regulations.
He further revealed that some clauses regarding rules of appointment of DG was part of the draft of the Acts.
He further said the Aviation Division had also made a move to enact the segregation of the PCAA.
This would be done by establishing two separate authorities, namely the existing PCAA with a diminished role and a new authority by the name of the Pakistan Airport Authority (PAA).
This segregation move was currently in progress on fast-track basis, he maintained.
Audit Report 2018-19 highlighted that in June 2018, the Establishment Division granted additional charge of the post of the DG CAA to G Hassan Baig, a grade-21 officer of Secretariat group, posted as senior joint secretary Aviation Division.
Audit official observed that prior to the additional charge arrangement the post of DG was occupied by Air Marshal Asim Suleman (retired).
The appointment of the DG was made through open competition.
The eligibility criteria approved by the Aviation Division for the post of former DG among other includes minimum of 20 years of post-qualification management experience with proven executive ability in any Aeronautical Organization or service preferably having aviation related experience.
Audit is of the view that additional charge arrangement was neither covered in the PCAA Ordinance 1982 nor the officers fulfil eligibility criteria for the post of DG.
The committee also expressed its displeasure over charging Rs100 from domestic and Rs1,000 for foreign passengers under head of security by the CAA which was functions of Airports Security Force (ASF).
Audit officials apprised that collected amount was not deposited in consolidated account and no record of receipts of the amount was available.
They further said the passengers were charged security fee without bringing into their knowledge.
The secretary Aviation Division said that present government suspended security fee in 2019.
The CAA collected Rs31 billion as security fee.
Out of which 13.5 billion was tax and Rs17 billion spent on security.
Member Committee Hina Rabani did not accept the argument and said that all government entities are exempted from tax and the officials of the CAA gave whole picture of expenditure not specific to collection of security fee from passengers.
The committee was also briefed on irregular expenditure of Rs26 million without provision in the PC-I and failure to achieve project objective.
Published in Business Recorder, Feb 13, 2021