Cabinet To Forgo Salaries, 'Pay Own Bills' As PM Announces Austerity Measures

Cabinet To Forgo Salaries, 'Pay Own Bills' As PM Announces Austerity Measures
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Wednesday announced sweeping austerity measures for his Cabinet, as the country continues to grapple with the worst economic crisis.

Terming the steps imperative in the current economic conditions, PM Shehbaz said that they would help save Rs200 billion annually.

The premier told media persons that ministers, state ministers, and special advisers to him had “willingly” decided to forego their salaries and perks, adding the ministers will also pay their telephone, electricity, water, and gas bills from their pocket.

He announced to revoke and auction luxury cars being used by the Cabinet members. “Where needed, the ministers will be given one car each for their security.”

PM Shehbaz Sharif in austerity drive also announced that the federal ministers will be travelling in the economy class during their domestic and international travel.

Neither the support staff will be allowed to go on state visits, nor the Cabinet members will stay in five-star hotels during their foreign visit, he added.

He also declared that the expenditure of all government departments will be reduced by 15 percent. “There will be a complete ban on buying luxury items and all types of new vehicles until June 2024.”

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According to the premier, ‘teleconferencing’ will be promoted as a substitute to official travels. He said, “For the next two years, no new administrative unit, division or sub-division will be created.”

PM Shehbaz also announced a “single treasury account”, saying the finance ministry has begun working on the plan.

He said that the proposal to conserve gas and electricity by opening the offices at 7:30am during the summer stands approved.

The premier further said that official events will be a “one-dish” gathering. “Only tea and biscuits will be served during the tea-time.”

He explained that the restriction will not apply to foreign guests, though “We will exercise caution; it will not be lavish.”

“The measures will be implemented immediately,” he said and hinted at “additional steps” at the time of the budget.

Concluding, PM Shehbaz asked the judiciary and the chief ministers to implement similar steps in their respective jurisdictions.

On the negotiations with the International Monetary Fund, he said that these were in a final stage. 'The government is working to enter a formal deal soon'.

'More inflation ahead'

Meanwhile, PTI chief Imran Khan said that the premier called the meeting to let people know that there will be more inflation in the days ahead.

Addressing his supporters via a live link, he said that the same party was raising a hue and cry over the inflation when his government was in power.

"The masses are now ready, but for something else," he said, in an apparent reference to his 'jail bharo' movement launched today (Wednesday).