PTV chief drawing millions in salary
By Imran Ali Teepu
ISLAMABAD: Salaries in the electronic media are second to none and this is more than evident from the contract of the head of Pakistan Television.
In addition to a monthly salary of Rs1.2 million, Yousaf Baig Mirza, the managing director of Pakistan Television, can claim a ‘three per cent’ share in the state-run corporation’s ‘advertising’ revenue.
A copy of the PTV managing director’s contract, which is available with Dawn, reveals that he is entitled to three per cent of the monthly advertising revenue earned by the television network, over and above the average monthly revenue of the past year that ended in June 2010.
The contract further says: “This per month average revenue of the year ended (June 2010) will be the basic amount to work out his performance-linked pay and will remain effective for the purpose of calculating the subsequent contractual years as well.”
Mr Mirza is also entitled to a Rs50,000 annual increment in his three-year-long contract. Mirza took over the reins of the PTV, replacing Arshad Khan, in Oct 2010.
A senior official who is aware of the details of the contract finds it unusual.
“Mr Mirza’s contract appears to contradict the federal government’s assertions that the latter has been facing a financial crunch for the last two years,” he says.
The senior official finds the conditions related to the three per cent share of the advertising revenue problematic.
He points out that the contract stipulates that “performance-linked pay will also be calculated and paid on monthly basis and will be paid to Mr Mirza in the subsequent month”.
The official explains that advertising fees are paid to the state-run channel after a span of 90 days, which is standard, while the payment of commercial revenues can take six months or more. But as Mr Mirza is to be paid in the ‘subsequent’ month, “Will PTV or the government pay the commission amount from its own coffers”.
He adds that several commercial and advertisement payments to PTV were stuck for the last many years; against this backdrop the payment to Mr Mirza in the subsequent month, he says, is of concern.
This, however, is not the only odd thing about this clause. A close study of the contract reveals that though this three per cent share is defined as “performance-linked pay”, yet the only ‘target’ that Mr Mirza has to meet is to earn more revenue than the previous year – 2010.
The official finds this unusual. In his experience, the practice is to create a higher benchmark than just the increment over the previous year’s revenue: “Why not the last five years?”
When contacted, Mr Mirza said: “We have generated around Rs1.15 billion during the ICC cricket World Cup.”
Asked about his contract, he said: “It’s not the total advertising revenue; instead it’s the incremental revenue of the total profit which I will be given at the end of the year.”
He added that “there is nothing wrong with the contract. I was getting Rs2.5 million during my previous assignment at Dunya Television.”
“Everyone is paid accordingly and that is deserved,” were his remarks in response to a question.
The state television earned Rs2.3 billion during 2004-05, which too was unprecedented. This happened under the tenure of Arshad Khan. During the last tenure of Mr Mirza, the earnings were Rs2.2 billion during 2007-08.