ISLAMABAD - The PTI-led government has introduced austerity plan for the current fiscal year including imposing ban on creation of new jobs and purchase of vehicles to control the rising expenditures of the country.

The Ministry of Finance, through a notification, has directed all ministries and divisions to follow the austerity measures during current fiscal year. The government has not changed the austerity measures, which have been followed from last few years. The Ministry of Finance has once again introduced old-fashioned austerity measures for the ongoing financial year that may have little impact on the country’s overall expenditures.

Pakistan’s budget deficit was recorded at Rs541.7 billion during the first quarter (July to September) of the ongoing fiscal (FY2019). The deficit went up mainly due to massive increase in expenditures. The country’s expenditures have stood at Rs1.64 trillion as against the revenues of Rs1.1 trillion during July-September period of FY2019. Expenditures increased due to massive spending on defence and interest payments.

Under the austerity measures, the government has banned the ministries to purchase new vehicles, fresh recruitment and other measures. “There will be a complete ban on purchase of all types of vehicles (excluding motorcycles) both for current as well as development expenditures except operational vehicles for law enforcement agencies for which NOC from Finance Division will be required,” stated the notification outlining government’s austerity measures for the financial year 2018-19. Similarly, creation of new posts will be banned except those required for the development projects and approved by the competent authority.

However, the government has constituted a four-member committee to review the proposals for seeking relaxation in ban on purchasing vehicles and creating posts. The four-member committee will be headed by additional finance secretary (expenditures), representative of the concerned ministry (not less than an officer in BS-20), senior joint secretary and financial officer concerned.

“Entitlement of periodical, magazines etc of all officers will remain restricted to only one newspaper,” the notification said. Furthermore, the delegations for foreign visits will be restricted to least number consisting of most relevant delegates only.

In consideration of financial constraints, keeping in view the austerity drive of present government and to save public money, it has been decided to affect a saving of 10 percent in current expenditure. All principal accounting officers have been requested to work out details of savings (10 percent) under the heads of operating expenses, physical assets, and repair and maintenance in current expenditure from their allocated budget and the amount so worked be surrendered. Relevant financial advisers will work with the ministries and will ensure 10 percent savings latest by December 15.

 

Govt unveils austerity plan