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Austerity Committee Advises Online Meetings to Save Time, Expenses

In inaugural meeting, committee directs all accounting officers to cut budgets by 15 percent in line with cabinet decisions

by Staff Report

File photo of Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, courtesy PID

Chairing the inaugural meeting of the Austerity Committee tasked with monitoring the implementation of proposed measures, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Monday advised encouraging the use of online conferences, and not in-person meetings, to save time and expenditures.

According to a statement issued by the Finance Division, the proposal to shift to zoom conferences will be placed before Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who will grant final approval of the measure with an aim to reduce expenses. The meeting also reviewed the implementation of the cabinet’s approved austerity measures, with the finance secretary giving a presentation in this regard. In his briefing, he said all ministries/divisions had commenced work on reducing expenses, adding instructions had been issued for immediate compliance and reporting of any exemption and violation.

Directing all accounting officers to implement a 15 percent cut in their budgets, the committee stressed on withdrawing luxury vehicles from cabinet members and government officials, with no exemptions.

In addition to the finance minister, the meeting was also attended by Education Minister Rana Tanveer Hussain; National Food Security Minister Tariq Bashir Cheema; Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar, Adviser to the P.M. on Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan Qamar Zaman Kaira; Special Assistant to the P.M. on Finance Tariq Bajwa, and relevant federal secretaries and senior officers.

Concluding the meeting, Dar highlighted the challenging economic situation in the country, stressing that all concerned should ensure and expedite the implementation of austerity measures with sincerity and devotion in their ranks without any exception.

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