Austerity measures

Austerity measures are essential to be adopted by the federal and provincial governments to ensure their expenditure remains within the available resources to the maximum extent possible so that the people are not burdened quite unnecessarily for filling the widening gap between the available resources and mounting demands for expenditure. According to the reports, the Punjab Government has done well to adopt stringent austerity measures imposing ban on foreign visits, proceeding abroad for medical treatment at the state expenses by any minister, parliamentarian and official.
Furthermore, recruitment to fill the vacant posts and upgradation of the posts to higher grades and procurement of locally assembled and imported new vehicles out of the current and development budgets have also been banned.
The provincial government has accordingly quite rightly directed all administrative secretaries, commissioners and deputy commissioners, heads of all attached departments and autonomous bodies as well all concerned officials and all tiers of the local bodies to ensure that their expenditure remains within the limits of the allocated budget and they adopt austerity measures to the maximum extent in the use of public money placed at their disposal through prudent financial management. They have also been strictly directed to avoid sheer wastage of resources and leakage of public money due to any factor.
To the best of the memory of this scribe, these austerity measures are notified in the wake of announcement and passages of the federal and provincial budget for new financial year by the respective legislatures more or less as an annual ritual for many years together. Whether these measures are strictly observed and adhered to by all concerned remain a big question mark and when the supplementary budgets for the outgoing financial year are presented, it appears that these austerity measures in most cases have been thrown in the air to say the least, please.
MOHAMMAD ZAHID RIFAT
Lahore

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