Friday, February 3, 2023

Govt decides to launch austerity drive

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ISLAMABAD: The federal government on Tuesday decided to launch an austerity drive in a bid to reduce public expenditures and budget deficit, ARY News reported.

According to details, the decision was taken during a meeting of government’s austerity committee, wherein the participants considered shifting the financial burden of federal ministries to the provinces.

During the meeting, it was proposed to keep affairs of defence, foreign, interior, communication and revenue ministries with the Centre. It was also proposed to shift the expenditures of ministries coming under the jurisdiction of the provinces.

The committee noted that civil expenditure of the federal ministries is Rs553 billion and the development expenditure is Rs563 billion.

Earlier last week, PM Shehbaz Sharif formed a 15-member national austerity committee to reduce the government expenditures and budget deficit.

The national austerity committee will be headed by former principal secretary Nasir Khosa and Minister of State for Finance and Revenue Aisha Ghaus Pasha. The federal government also issued terms of reference (ToRs) for the national austerity committee.

The committee will forward recommendations for reducing government expenditures, fiscal management and other steps to save national resources.

According to the ToRs, the committee will compile recommendations for structural reforms and review the losses of the state institutions. The committee will forward its recommendations to PM Shehbaz Sharif within 15 days.

The finance ministry will provide secretarial support to the austerity committee. According to the notification, the chief secretaries of the four provinces were also included in the committee.

The other members of the austerity committee include special assistant on finance, establishment adviser, special aide on government performance, CDA chairman and the secretaries of finance, cabinet, power and housing.

Moreover, economic experts including Qaiser Bangali, Zubair Khan, Farrukh Salim and governance specialist Naveed Iftikhar were also included in the committee.

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