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ISLAMABAD: The austerity committee has asked Ministry of Law to request Chief Justice of Pakistan to also take austerity measures like other government organisations.

Sharing details, sources said, to ensure implementation of the decisions approved by the Federal Cabinet, in its meeting held on February 22, 2023, the Prime Minister constituted the following Committee: (i) Muhammad Ishaq Dar, Minister for Finance; (ii) Rana Tanveer Hussain, Minister for Federal Education & Professional Training; (iii) Amin ul Haq, Minister for IT & Telecom; (iv) Azam Nazir Tarar, Minister for Law and Justice; (v) Tariq Bashir Cheema, Minister for National Food Security and Research;(vi) Qamar Zaman Kaira, Advisor to Prime Minister on Kashmir and; (vii) Hashim Notezai, Minister of State for Power.

First meeting of the Committee was held under the chairmanship of Finance Minister on February 27, 2023 in Finance Division which was attended by all members except Minster of State for Power and Minister for IT & Telecom. Secretaries and senior officers from Interior, Cabinet, Establishment, Power and Housing and Works Divisions also attended the meeting.

Finance Secretary briefed the participants about the background; and noted that the Federal Cabinet approved Austerity Measures to curtail expenditure and ensure rational utilization of public money to reduce fiscal deficit.

Keeping in view the economic and financial challenges being faced by the country and to conserve scarce resources, the government has decided to take further steps to curtail expenditures and bring austerity into public expenditure. Accordingly, Prime Minister constituted National Austerity Committee under the chairmanship of Nasir Khosa to suggest additional measures. The measures proposed by the Committee were presented to Prime Minister who directed that they be presented to the Federal Cabinet. These were presented to the Federal Cabinet on February 22, 2023.

As per TORs of the Committee, implementation status of the decisions of the Cabinet was reviewed.

After thorough discussion, the committee took following decisions: (i) all Ministries/Divisions should issue instructions for implementation of decisions of the Cabinet immediately; (ii) Cabinet Division should provide details of luxury vehicles withdrawn from Cabinet members; (iii) all Principal Accounting Officers should report any deviation/exemption/violation and discrepancies (if any) to the concerned Ministry; (iv) Minister for Interior may decide to allocate security vehicles for Cabinet members on case to case basis on necessity basis; (v) Law Ministry may request the Chief Justice of Pakistan to take similar decisions for their respective institutions; (vi) Inter Provincial Coordination Division may request Provincial Chief Ministers to take similar decisions for their respective governments; and (vii) Teleconferencing should be the practice and actual presence of officers should be an exception especially in case of out of city participants. For this purpose Speaker of National Assembly and Chairman Senate may also be requested to allow teleconference meetings of Standing Committees, etc; Establishment Division may decide the office timings for summer keeping in view the arrival of Ramzan to save energy.

The Ministers agreed that Finance Minister may chair meetings of the Committee.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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