Predicting rise in inflation, PM announces austerity measures
February 23, 2023 08:19 AM
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has confessed that inflation will rise in the country after the deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), reported 24 24NewsHD TV channel.
Addressing a press conference flanked by the senior leadership of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), Shehbaz Sharif said only one or two items are remaining to fulfil the conditions of IMF and asserted that Pakistan will strike the IMF bailout pact in the coming days.
Prime Minister also unveiled austerity measures aimed to keep the country afloat as the nation buckles up to meet the IMF conditions.
He announced that the ministers and advisers to the Prime Minister have "voluntarily" decided not to take salaries from the government in order to save millions from the national exchequer. “All ministers will pay their power, telephone, water, and gas bills from their own pockets.”
The prime minister said that austerity measures were a priority for the coalition government, and the ongoing situation also demands the nation as a whole cut down their expenses and move towards a simple lifestyle.
He noted that ministers, advisers, and bureaucrats would have to take the lead in adopting austerity measures — in a bid to promote the values.
Under the austerity measures, the premier announced to put a ban on the import of luxury cars for the ministers till June 2024.
"The Pakistani government is utilizing all resources to deal with the economic challenges," he said, adding that the cabinet members would travel in economy class instead of business during his trips abroad.
Mr. Sharif added sacrifices from the privileged were required in this difficult time. “It is the joint responsibility of the government machinery, which includes politicians and bureaucrats to show a performance that is needed in this extremely difficult time,” he added.
To a question, Prime Minister said the government is taking austerity measures to save at least Rs200b annually.
The PM also announced to cut down spending by 15% on the diplomatic mission. He said that Cabinet has decided to close down a number of diplomatic embassies abroad and scale back on their offices, staff, and other operations.
He said that it has been decided that all luxury cars are being taken back from cabinet members and will be auctioned and when necessary, ministers will be provided one vehicle for security.
He hinted that government officials will travel in economy class and their assistants will not go with them on official tours.
Shehbaz Sharif held that during foreign tours, cabinet members will not reside in five-star hotels.
“All ministries, divisions, departments, sub-departments, and independent organizations’ current expenditures will see a cut of 15%.”
He added that Principal accounting officers of ministries, divisions, departments, sub departments, and independent organizations will adjust their expenses accordingly.
Government officials will only hold official tours if obligatory and car allowances for government officers who already have official vehicles will be discontinued. Cars provided to government officers for security will be taken back and interior ministry will decide which government officer gets security vehicles, he added.
Zoom conferences will be preferred instead of visiting countries.
To a question, he replied that no new department or division will be created, whether it be at the provincial level or at the center.
To save power and gas, offices will open at 7:30 am and less power consuming appliances will be used, he said adding that
government officers will not be allotted more than one plot. The primer also announced that only one dish will be offered at government meetings, and tea and biscuit will be served at other meetings.
Prohibition of food will not be applicable to foreign dignitaries, he added.