Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan
Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan. Image Credit: PTI

Islamabad: The Pakistani government led by Prime Minister Imran Khan has banned the creation of new posts and purchase of vehicles, media reports said.

Authorities have also rationalised utilities spending, and decided to keep other expenditures at the bare minimum, under an austerity drive for the current fiscal year.

According to media reports, the growing budget deficit is a major concern for the Tehreek-e-Insaf-led government, under the ongoing IMF programme.

Its campaign to deal with the financial emergency failed to yield any positive results during the last financial year 2018-19, when the budget deficit escalated to its highest ever absolute figure.

The government has already banned the provision of refreshments such as tea or biscuits during official meetings, causing some consternation as official meetings often go on for hours.

Some government workers have said the ban on food may create problems for people with health problems

How are things changing

However, ignoring the criticism, the Ministry of Finance on Friday issued an Office Memorandum (OM) announcing more austerity measures for financial year 2019-20 with immediate effect. Under the new order:

(i) There will be a complete ban on purchase of all types of vehicles (excluding motorcycles) both for current as well as development expenditure.

(ii) Creation of new posts will be banned except those required for development projects and approved by the competent authority.

(iii) Entitlement of periodical, magazines, newspapers etc. of entitled officers will remain restricted to only one.

(iv) Principal Accounting Officers (PAOs) will ensure rationalised utility consumption i.e. electricity, gas, telephone, water etc and the expenditure on purchase of assets, repair & maintenance and other operational expenditure shall be kept at bare minimum level while remaining within the budgetary allocation for the financial year.

(v) Two sides of paper shall be used in all official communications.