Pakistan ministers flout austerity drive measures, unwilling to return luxury vehicles: Report


Even though the economic crisis continues in Pakistan, many ministers are still not willing to return their luxury vehicles despite Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif asking them to do so as part of an austerity drive aimed at saving the government over $707 million (200 billion PKR) a year.

On Monday (March 13), a meeting of the monitoring committee on the implementation of austerity measures presided over by the country’s Finance Minister Ishaq Dar was informed that more than half of the luxury vehicles given to cabinet members, parliamentary secretaries and chairmen of standing committees were not returned to the cabinet division which maintains the government’s central pool, according to a report by The Dawn on Tuesday. 


The report added that many senior bureaucrats were still using official sports utility vehicles (SUVs) and sedan cars above 1800cc despite the austerity policy approved by the government in February.

The meeting of the monitoring committee was told in a compliance report that out of 30 luxury vehicles, 14 had been returned and 16 were still in use, The Dawn reported citing sources. However, a statement from the finance division said that a majority of cabinet members surrendered their luxury vehicles. 

“The meeting expressed concerns over the non-return of remaining luxury vehicles and directed the cabinet division for strict implementation of the decision and to get back the luxury vehicles within three days,” the statement said. The meeting also deliberated upon the withdrawal of the use of security vehicles. 

Finance Minister Dar directed all concerned quarters to expedite the implementation of austerity measures with sincerity and true spirit without any exception. 

Monday’s meeting also discussed working hours and it was decided that new timings for offices would be 7.30 am to 2.30 pm and up to 12.30 pm on Friday, starting from the first of Ramzan and would be followed in the summers as per the decision of the cabinet, the report also said. 


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