Print Print 2023-02-23

Govt announces steps to correct fiscal imbalances

  • Ministers, advisers to forgo pays and perks
  • Cabinet members to pay utility bills out of their own pockets
  • Travel only in economy class and no stay in 5-star hotels
Published February 23, 2023

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Wednesday said during two and a half hours of deliberations in the cabinet meeting, it was concluded that of course there would be some difficulties but the country would be steered out of the difficulties.

Addressing a news conference, he said: “We have to make collective efforts to make the country prosperous” and added that the coalition government has taken some decisions that the government ministers, state ministers, advisers, etc, have voluntarily decided not to take salaries, perks, and privileges.

He added that all the cabinet members would pay their utilities’ bill from their own pockets and luxury vehicles would be taken back from them and auctioned. In addition, he said the cabinet members would travel in economy class and would not stay in five-star hotels.

He said there would be a 15 percent reduction in expenses of ministries and divisions and purchase of luxury items would be banned till June. Government employees would be allowed only obligatory travel abroad. He said that vehicles would be taken back from officials who are drawing transport monetization besides security vehicles would be taken back from the officials.

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No member of the cabinet would use luxury vehicles. The premier said that no administrative unit would be set up for the next two years. The premier said that a single treasury account would be established and Finance Ministry has started working on it. Offices would be open at 7:30 am in summer to save gas and electricity, and civil servants would be allowed only one plot.

The prime minister said that a committee has been formed to be headed by the Minister for Law to develop a plan for the auction of big government houses and land.

He said that single dish would be enforced in government functions, however, this restriction would not be applicable on foreigners’ visits. These measures are being informed immediately and some more measures would be taken up in the next fiscal year’s budget. These measures are the need of the hour. The prime minister maintained that Rs200 billion would be savings from the austerity measures.

He said that the federal cabinet decided that $300 value gift would be allowed from Toshakhana after declaring it and above value would be deposited in the Toshakhana. He said that a third party would determine the price of Toshakhana gift value.

He said all the conditions of the staff-level agreement of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and its Executive Board meeting have been met.

He said consequent to the Fund conditions, subsidies are now being provided to the poor. The prime minister said the middle class and poor have always offered sacrifices during the last 75 years whether it was the 1965 war, earthquake or floods, and deplored that the government expenditure and luxurious style kept on increasing.

He said though, the rich and affluent have contributed, however, their contribution was considerably below what should have been, adding that the government and elite class had not fulfilled their obligations. He said the rich were getting treatment from abroad, the US, France, and other countries but the poor were unable to afford treatment even in the country.

He said an understanding was reached with the IMF for an increase in expenses by Rs40 billion for the poor.

He said that there is no shortage of wheat stock and Passco has procured wheat and flour is a provincial subject and has nothing to do with the federal government. The federal government would sensitise provinces. He said that holding elections on time is a constitutional requirement but the decision in this regard would be taken by the Election Commission.

The prime minister said that the president has committed an “unconstitutional act” by announcing the date for provincial assemblies – Punjab and KP elections and he on behalf of the cabinet is writing a letter to him to draw his attention in this regard.

The prime minister acknowledged that the measures taken to comply with IMF actions is likely to add to inflation.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023


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Truthisbitter813 Feb 23, 2023 08:52am
Look at these "crooks", they are fooling no one! Real, honest leaders openly use state-owned helicopters to make dashing entrances at their private rallies. Clearly this lot is "treacherous and dishonest".
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Muhammad Ali Feb 23, 2023 10:16am
Govt would never consider retrieving of wealth parked in off shore.
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Rizwan Feb 23, 2023 10:58am
Why blame terrorists, the elite of this country is the biggest threat to the national security of Pakistan. Thanks to them we are here.
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