THE government has formed a ten-member committee headed by Finance Minister Miftah Ismail to ensure implementation of austerity measures as it sought to cut expenditure to reduce fiscal deficit.
The Ministry of Finance on Thursday unveiled austerity measures for the current fiscal year to control the expenditures, including imposing ban on purchase of all types of vehicles, creation of new posts and reducing petrol usage limit for cabinet members and government functionaries.
It has stopped official visits abroad by government functionaries where GoP funding is involved except obligatory visits.
Under the austerity measures, there would be a ban on official lunches/dinners/hi-tea except for foreign delegations and issuance of periodical, magazines, newspapers, etc.
Given the current situation where the country is faced with serious economic constraints whilst the price hike has broken the back of common man, the government’s move to introduce austerity measures is a laudable step in the right direction to curb misuse of state resources.
These are extraordinary times which require extraordinary decisions for ensuring rational utilization of public money.
After the country’s independence, austerity remained the norm for well over a decade.
The bureaucrats emulated the good precedents set by their leaders, in particular the country’s founding father Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
Elected representatives and bureaucrats of present time also have to follow that era.
They have to believe in simple living and high thinking, and consider in true spirit state funds as a public trust.
There is a general impression in the public that the government officials spend a luxurious life from the funds drawn from state coffers.
This must come to an end and government officials have to demonstrate honesty and integrity in their conduct as this is the only way through which the country can be steered out of difficult times.
Apart from austerity drive, there is also a dire need to stop leakages especially taking place in loss making enterprises, which need to be privatized as they over the years have only been proving to be a burden on the national kitty.