Pakistan mulls cuts in salaries, cuts federal ministers

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Pakistan mulls cuts in salaries, cuts federal ministers

As part of its austerity measures, Pakistan is considering slashing the salaries of government employees, reducing the count of federal ministers and curtailing the expenditure of ministries and divisions. The Pakistani economy struggles to cope with mounting debt, global inflation and political instability, and has been pushed to the brink of a collapse.

The National Austerity Committee NAC, formed by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, is considering a number of measures including cutting government salaries by 10 per cent. The proposals also include cutting down expenditures of ministries and divisions by 15 per cent. It aims to reduce the number of federal ministers, ministers of state and advisers from 78 to 30. According to a report from the UAE-based news site Geo News, the remaining suggested that they should work on a pro bono basis.

The final report will be sent to PM Sharif by Wednesday.

The Pakistani government is seeking another monetary package from the International Monetary Fund IMF, but the IMF has refused to send a team to the country to complete the review of the $1.18 billion fund, part of the $6 billion bailout package Islamabad secured in 2019.

The IMF wants the country to carry on a slew of reforms that Pakistan can't afford as of now. Both sides are talking about the demands that the IMF wants from Islamabad, as per reports. Pakistan PM Sharif fears that implementing these demands would hike the price of essential items and could cost him the upcoming national elections.

The NAC also recommended using funds for provincial nature projects and imposed a ban on public sector enterprises from securing loans through government guarantees. The committee also considered a proposal to freeze discretionary funds of intelligence agencies, including the Inter-Services Intelligence ISI and Intelligence Bureau IB. It also considered a ban on buying luxury vehicles, freezing perks and privileges locally and abroad of ministries and divisions.