ISLAMABAD: The Shehbaz Sharif government has prepared a plan for a package of austerity measures, including a 5-day working week, working from home for one day, early closure of commercial markets, reduction of fuel quota for bureaucrats, the ban on the purchase of all types of vehicles and the creation of new jobs, etc.
The austerity measures, which will be presented to the cabinet for approval, aim to save energy, reduce oil consumption and minimize government spending to save money. Short-term actions include a 5-day work week for energy conservation, the ability to work from home one day a week (work 4 days in the office and one day from home), switch off the public/street lighting, early closure of commercial markets, mandatory semi-annual vehicle tuning, repair and maintenance of tractors for better performance, and behavioral change for efficiency and conservation of l energy for which a massive awareness campaign will be launched.
The plan includes a total ban on the purchase of all types of vehicles from the current and development budget, with the exception of commercial vehicles such as ambulances, buses for educational institutions, solid waste vehicles , etc. There will also be a ban on the creation of new positions, except for development projects. .
It is also proposed to prohibit i) the purchase of office furniture, except for development projects; (ii) purchase of machinery and equipment, including air conditioners, microwaves, refrigerators, photocopiers, etc.
A ban is also proposed on all official visits by government officials where funding from the Government of Pakistan is involved, except for mandatory visits. The prohibition of official lunches, dinners, hi-teas except for foreign delegations is also proposed. A ban on the purchase of periodicals, magazines and newspapers from government offices is also proposed.
Chief accountants of all government institutions and agencies will be required to ensure that (i) consumption of public services is reduced by 10%, (ii) existing POL entitlement for civil servants is reduced by 30%, (iii) reduction of avoidable trips by promoting the use of zoom / videocon, iv) reduce publicity / publicity expenditure. Only public interest campaigns may be permitted, v) abolish vacant, redundant and unproductive posts, vi) review and determine the need for self-governing bodies, authorities, corporations, etc. to reduce expenses.