PM’s austerity drive will save up to Rs 10 billion per year; welcome to Naya Pakistan
In this article Omer Siddiq Khan discusses the benefits of PM’s austerity drive. The PM House claims it has saved Rs 50 million through this drive during the first three months. If that’s true, the savings from all the government offices put together must be a big sum and that’s great news for the public.
There are many issues on which the new government can be criticized. Or many might argue, that 90 days are too early to judge a new government. However, their austerity drive is something in which we have seen progress.
According to PM Imran Khan, when he launched the austerity drive, it was meant to reduce all those useless expenses, wasted on luxurious lifestyle by the previous governments. This was done to ensure the public that their money won’t be wasted. Plus to encourage the non-taxpayers to come into the tax net.
But, will it be implemented?
The opposition was inquisitive about its implementation (and rightly so). The real issue in Pakistan has always been implementing the policies written on the paper. The words of the PM obviously sounded very good but so did Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s land reforms, which failed because Mr Bhutto himself was a big landlord, who did not divide his own land but wanted other landlords to do so. Thankfully, this has not been the case here.
The positive thing here is that before ordering its implementation in all government offices. The PM applied it on himself, by choosing not to live in the luxurious PM house, auctioning all the 85 extra vehicles and even the 8 buffaloes that were there to serve milk to the Premier.
The Real News
Some of you might want me to come to the headline. Trust me I am not Sham Idrees and it is not a click-bait headline. It is basic math. You might have heard the news that the PM House has so far (in 90 days) saved Rs147 million under the ongoing austerity drive. Around 97 million of it was through auctioning some of the cars. While the remaining 50 million rupees were saved by not living in the PM house, curtailing the daily life expenses, and removing 500 servants (they have been adjusted in other departments).
Saving approximately Five Crores in three months means saving 20 crores per year from the PM house alone. Now if you also add the money saved through the austerity measures in the President, all 4 governor, and 2 CM houses, along with the departments of all federal and provincial ministers and all other government offices of Punjab, KP and Balochistan, plus the no self-promotional ad policy of the government, all this will add up to easily save Rs 5 to 10 billion, which was being wasted before on useless luxuries by the previous governments.
Although many of the respectable opposition leaders of our country are skeptical of this austerity drive and have termed it as a cheap publicity stunt, I don’t think anyone in the public irrespective of their political affiliations will mind any stunt which can save Rs 10 billion for public service.