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ISLAMABAD: As part of austerity measures of present Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) federal government, highly significant cuts have been witnessed in the expenditure of Prime Minister’s House and Office, foreign tours as well as security.

According to sources, the expenditure on PM’s House stood at Rs.509 million in 2018 when PTI came to power on 25 July 2018 following its victory in the general elections. The expenditure on this head was reduced to Rs.339 million in 2019 and 280 million in 2020, respectively, resulting in a savings of 35 percent and 49 percent, respectively, on this account.

The expenditure on PM’s office totaled at Rs.514 million which came down to Rs.305 million and Rs.334 million in 2019 and 2020 respectively. (40 percent and 29 percent savings were made in 2019 and 2020, respectively).

“Another significance aspect of the austerity measures is that there has been zero discretionary grant, zero gifts and zero cash awards. Whereas the current expenditure of the PM’s House under the PTI government confined to the operating cost of 180 persons, which decreased from 552 persons,” the sources said.

As far as the expenditure on foreign tours is concerned, Rs572 was spent on the 48 tours of the then Prime Minister, Yousaf Raza Gilani, to foreign destinations. Rs.107 million was spent when Raja Pervez Ashraf visited the foreign countries nine times as country’s Prime Minister.

A sum of Rs.1.8 billion was spent on 92 foreign tours of Nawaz Sharif when he became country’s prime minister following the PML-N’s victory in the 2013 general election and Rs.260 million was spent on 19 foreign tours of another prime minister belonging to PML-N Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.

The incumbent Prime Minister, Imran Khan, visited foreign countries 26 times in its two and half years tenure and Rs.176 million was spent on his foreign tours.

Country-wise tours of various heads of state and government also showed a huge difference in terms of expenditure. For example, Asif Ali Zardari as President of Pakistan visited USA in 2009. It cost the national kitty $752,688.

Nawaz Sharif as prime minister visited the USA in 2013 and the expenditure on his visit stood at $ 549,853 whereas $67,180 was spent when Prime Minister Imran Khan visited the USA in 2019.

Expenditure on Asif Ali Zardari as President of Pakistan’s visits to Afghanistan stood at $44000. On the tours of Nawaz Sharif as Prime Minister to Afghanistan, $58000 was spent and $9600 was spent on the tour of Prime Minister Imran Khan to the same country.

The details of expenditure on visits to Davos, Switzerland, indicated that $761,000 was spent on Nawaz Sharif’s visits and the amounts of $450,000 and $52000 were spent on the visits of Yousaf Raza Gilani and Imran Khan, respectively.

Nawaz Sharif’s visits to China as prime minister consumed $1,060,000 whereas $288,000 was spent on the visits of Yousaf Raza Gilani as Prime Minister to China. Only $60,000 was spent on the visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to China.

The expenditure on camp offices and security head showed the following: Rs.3.6 billion was spent on two camp offices and 245 vehicles as well as 656 policemen, deployed on Asif Zardari’s security when was holding the office of President of Pakistan.

Rs.570 million was spent on the five camp offices of Yousaf Raza Gilani as Prime Minister and Rs.4.3 billion was spent on the Raiwand camp office and 2717 policemen deployed on the security of Nawaz Sharif, when he was Prime Minister. Shahbaz Sharif as Chief Minister of Punjab also had two camp offices that attracted an expenditure of Rs.572 million. Prime Minister Imran Khan has no camp office.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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