Govt Servants' Salaries To Be Halted, Directive Issued To AGPR

Govt Servants' Salaries To Be Halted, Directive Issued To AGPR
Due to the current economic crunch and the country's deteriorating financial condition, the Ministry of Finance and Revenue has instructed Accountant General Pakistan Revenues (AGPR) to cease clearing bills, including salaries. The ministry also directed to halt the clearings of attached departments until further notice.

Official sources confirmed on Friday night that financial releases pertaining to operational costs would be facing 'difficulties' primarily due to the economic hardships the country is facing.

Finance ministry officials failed to respond for comments till the filing of this report. However, finance minister Ishaq Dar told sources that the report of AGPR being ordered to stop salaries might be untrue, but also could not live up to his promise of getting back after confirming it.

Sources also said that they went to the AGPR office for clearance of their outstanding bills, but were informed that the finance ministry had directed them to stop clearing all bills, including salaries, because of the "prevailing difficult financial positions".

However, the exact reasons could not be ascertained as to why the clearance of bills was stopped until further orders. Pakistan's lingering financial difficulties could be cited as a major reason behind this move.

Sources added that the salaries and pensions of defence-related institutions due in the next month had already been cleared.

In his 22 February meeting with a delegation of M/s Rothschild & Co., finance minister Ishaq Dar had said that "the government was steering the economy towards stability and growth adding that "the government is committed to completing the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme and fulfilling all international obligations."

Dar's commitment to unlocking the IMF tranche was seen on 20 February when the National Assembly had unanimously approved the Finance (Supplementary) Bill 2023 or Dar's 'mini budget', a move required to secure the next $1.1 billion tranche from the IMF.

The 'mini budget' increases sales tax from 17 to 25% on imports ranging from cars and household appliances to chocolates and cosmetics. A general sales tax was raised from 17% to 18%.

"The prime minister will also unveil austerity measures in the next few days," the finance minister told the lower house of parliament as the bill was passed, adding that "we will have to take difficult decisions".

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Finance has issued a press release via its Twitter account, stating that "rumours" of any stoppage in payment of salaries are "false".

Sources are adamant that they have not been disbursed their dues from AGPR as of Friday, and expect to receive further clarification on the issue from AGPR office on Monday, especially after the finance ministry's press release is authenticated.