Pakistan Govt chalks out austerity plan

ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Finance has chalked out the stringent second phase of the austerity plan 2011-12 for the federal government, and it would be announced on June 17 in the National Assembly.

Federal Minister for Finance Dr Hafeez Shaikh in his winding up speech on the budget will announce the measures for further reduction of non-development expenditures of the federal government for 2011-12. The government had, on March 17, announced a reduction of around Rs 20 billion in it’s non-development expenditures for ongoing fiscal year. The next round of the austerity plan for fiscal year 2011-12 would be more stringent, the official sources said.

The ban on recruitment, non-durable items, furniture, electronics products, luxury items will continue. The federal government would absorb 45,000 employees who have became surplus after devolvement of 18 federal ministries to the provinces. Earlier, the government had slashed the budget of ministries and under the proposed plan the perks and privileges of officers of each grade and employees would be reduced to ensure sizeable saving under the plan.

Petrol and telephone ceiling and traveling allowance and daily allowance (TA/DA) are expected to be reduced significantly. The government has already announced in the budget 2011-12 monetising of transport facility for grade 20-21 and grade 22, under which they would be offered to purchase the official vehicles in their use. The officers of grade 20 will get Rs 45 thousand per month as fuel, insurance, driver and maintenance allowance. In case they opt for official driver they would be given Rs 35,000 per month.

The officers of grade 21 would be offered Rs 55,000 against the official transport facility as fuel, insurance, driver and maintenance. In case they opt for official driver they would be offered Rs 45,000 cash per month. The officers of grade 22 are expected to get Rs 65,000 per month under the same heads. The net saving under the monetisation of transport facility for the federal government officers is expected to be Rs 2.1 billion. sajid chaudhry

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