Pakistan austerity drive strips ministers, staff of pay, perks – Times of India

On Wednesday, the cash-strapped Pakistan government announced new austerity measures in order to secure a staff-level agreement with the IMF for the release of $1.2 billion in aid. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his federal ministerial colleagues, advisers and special assistants have agreed to forego their salaries and generous perks. Furthermore, government support staff will no longer be allowed to go on state visits and cabinet members and officers will not stay in five-star hotels during foreign trips. The government will also sell off all government residences in city centres and no officer will be allotted more than one plot. Additionally, data pertaining to the Toshakhana (state depository) and the gifts received to date will be made public on the website. Any minister, including the PM, will not be allowed to retain gifts valued above $300. The cabinet also decided that until June 2024, there will be a complete ban on purchase of luxury items and all types of new cars. Minister for climate change, Sherry Rehman, stated that these measures are only “optics” and that the size of the cabinet must go down. Prime Minister Sharif acknowledged that the measures of entrenchment and simplicity will not reduce the burden of inflation, but they will reduce the resentment “that is accumulated in the people because of what has been happening for the past 75 years”.

Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his federal ministerial colleagues have agreed to forego their salaries and generous perks in an effort to secure a staff-level agreement with the IMF for the release of $1.2 billion in aid. As part of the austerity measures, government support staff will no longer be allowed to go on state visits and cabinet members and officers will not stay in five-star hotels during foreign trips. Additionally, all government residences in city centres will be sold off and no officer will be allotted more than one plot. Until June 2024, there will be a complete ban on purchase of luxury items and all types of new cars. Furthermore, data pertaining to the Toshakhana (state depository) and the gifts received to date will be made public on the website and any minister, including the PM, will not be allowed to retain gifts valued above $300. Minister for climate change, Sherry Rehman, said that these measures are only “optics” and that the size of the cabinet must go down. Prime Minister Sharif believes that while these measures of entrenchment and simplicity will not reduce the burden of inflation, they will reduce the resentment “that is accumulated in the people because of what has been happening for the past 75 years”.



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