Govt discontinues discretionary funds, keeps Saturday holiday for govt offices

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan chaired a meeting of the federal cabinet at the PM House.

The cabinet reviewed a seven-point agenda and important decisions were taken during the meeting.

Following the meeting, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry held a press conference detailing the 7-point agenda.

1. Discretionary funds abolished

The cabinet decided to abolish discretionary funds for ministers, MPs and the prime minister.
Chaudhry, terming it the “most important announcement” of today’s meeting, criticised the previous government for doling out huge funds to MNAs. He said former premier Nawaz Sharif in his last year as premier used Rs21 billion as part of the discretionary funds. MPAs were given Rs30b, he said.

If required we will bring a legislative amendment to implement the change, he added.

Previously, Nawaz used to “distribute” projects during rallies in various parts of the country, Fawad said, adding that this will no longer happen.

2. First class facility discontinued for visits abroad

Chaudhry added that PM Imran will not use his special plane for foreign visits. The prime minister will not travel first but on club class.
The government has also decided to discontinue the facility of first class travel to all ministries, chief justice and president, who will now use club class.

3. PM Imran summons report on load shedding

The information minister said that Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed concern over load-shedding during Eid and has summoned a detailed report on the power distribution systems.

4. Special audit of mass transport system in the country

The cabinet has decided to carry out forensic audit of mass-transport projects in Multan, Islamabad, Lahore, as well as the Orange train project, started under the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government.

“Billions were spent on these projects. Despite spending so much money, they still require funds to operate. If need be the [Federal Investigation Agency] FIA will be tasked to investigate this,” Chaudhry said.

The government will also carry out audit of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa metro project.

5. Massive urban tree plantation in the country

Urban tree plantation project will be launched in major cities. Details will be given next month by the environment minister. Chaudhry said this is the need of the hour, especially in Karachi due to the heatweave in the city.

6. Saturday to remain holiday

A summary seeking to increase working days to six for government offices was presented during the cabinet meeting. According to the summary, government offices will remain open on Saturday.

Chaudhry, however, said the cabinet had decided to continue with five-day work week, but the work hours have changed. The new work hours will be from 9am to 5pm.

7. Launch of a major cleanliness drive in the country

A taskforce has been formed to formulate plans for carrying out cleanliness drive on a major scale in the country.

Separate from the agenda, PM Imran directed to form a taskforce to overview matters related to katchi abadis across the country.

CPEC projects to be completed at any cost

The information minister said the projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor will be completed at any cost, and no hurdle will be allowed in the way.

Faisalabad incident

Commenting on clash between two groups last night in Faisalabad, Chaudhry clarified that it had no religious dynamic to it and it was a clash between two groups.