Body suggests closure of govt departments

Recommends abolishing post lying vacant for over a year

Our Correspondent June 13, 2024


The committee — formed to reduce the government’s expenditures — on Wednesday presented its preliminary report to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif that contained various recommendations including closing down, merging, or handing over some federal departments to the provinces, and abolishing the vacancies lying vacant for over a year.

During a meeting held to discuss the reduction in government expenses and the size of its infrastructure, the body handed over its report to the premier that contained both short and medium-term recommendations to achieve this goal.

It recommended the introduction of a contributory pension mechanism for newly-appointed employees.

The body suggested engaging the private sector for service delivery in the government departments to reduce expenditures as well as banning unnecessary travelling of government officials by promoting teleconferencing.

It also recommended that official vehicles should be withdrawn immediately from the officers availing the monetisation facility.

The committee is headed by the Planning Commission Deputy Chairman.

Its other members include the federal cabinet, establishment, and power secretaries; Dr Qaiser Bangali, Dr Farrukh Saleem as well as Muhammad Naveed Iftikhar.

On the basis of these recommendations, the premier formed a high-powered committee and instructed it to furnish a comprehensive report within 10 days, keeping the best global practices in view.

PM Shehbaz expressed the hope that the recommendations by the high-powered committee would help save billions of rupees for the national exchequer.

The participants of the meeting included Planning and Development Minister Ahsan Iqbal, Economic Affairs Minister Ahad Khan Cheema, Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb, Minister of State for Finance and Revenue Ali Pervaiz Malik, PM’s Coordinator Rana Ehsan Afzal and relevant senior officials.

Last month, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) asked Pakistan to immediately slash expenditure in the range of Rs163 billion to Rs183 billion, as it was not ready to compromise on the goal of achieving a primary budget surplus this year despite a significant revenue shortfall.

During its interaction with a visiting delegation of the IMF for the new bailout package, the Federal Board of Revenue informed the global lender that it was facing a revenue shortfall of Rs163 billion to Rs183 billion for the current fiscal year ending in June.

However, the IMF reiterated its old demand that there would be no compromise on the core objective of having a primary budget surplus of 0.4% of gross fomestic product or Rs401 billion.

The committee’s terms of reference (ToRs) include creating a strategy to dismantle the PWD and develop alternative models for managing public sector development projects to ensure more efficient resource utilisation.

The committee will also recommend strategies for maintaining assets currently managed by the PWD and overseeing ongoing projects during and after the transition period. Additionally, it will outline prospects for the department’s employees.


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