PM forms body for execution of austerity measures

Pakistan floods

Committee to review plan seeking to save Rs200b annually

The federal government has constituted a monitoring committee to oversee the implementation of the austerity measures unveiled by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif earlier this week in a bid to cut the government’s expenses.

The highlight of the government’s austerity measures is the withdrawal of salaries and perks of the prime minister, minister’s special assistants and advisers, along with a 15% cut in the expenses of all government departments.

The committee, announced on Sunday in a press statement from the prime minister’s office, includes Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Minister for Education Rana Tanveer Hussain, Information Minister Syed Ameenul Haque, Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarrar, Food Security Minister Tariq Bashir Cheema, PM’s advisor on Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit Baltistan Qamar Zaman Kaira and Minister of State for Power Division Hashim Notezai.

The committee will review the implementation of the decisions taken during the federal cabinet meeting of February 22, it said The principal accounting officer of each ministry, division, and department will submit recommendations before the committee by February 27 on the implementation of these decisions. On Wednesday, PM Shehbaz announced a broad range of measures aiming to tighten the government’s belt but warned people to brace for more price hikes due to the tough conditions imposed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The prime minister spoke to the media himself to unveil the austerity measures approved by the federal cabinet and expressed the hope that the government would be able to take the masses out of the current economic crisis. “There will be more inflation in the country,” he cautioned. However, he added that the government was taking measures to mitigate the sufferings of the poor, by continuing various subsidies for them.