PM forms National Austerity Committee

Staff Report

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister (PM) Shehbaz Sharif Friday formed a 15-member national austerity committee to reduce the government expenditures and budget deficit.
The national austerity committee will be headed by former principal secretary Nasir Khosa and Minister of State for Finance and Revenue Aisha Ghaus Pasha. The federal government also issued terms of reference (ToRs) for the national austerity committee.
The committee will forward recommendations for reducing government expenditures, fiscal management and other steps to save national resources.
According to the ToRs, the committee will compile recommendations for structural reforms and review the losses of the state institutions. The committee will forward its recommendations to PM Shehbaz Sharif within 15 days.
The finance ministry will provide secretarial support to the austerity committee. According to the notification, the chief secretaries of the four provinces were also included in the committee.
The other members of the austerity committee include special assistant on finance, establishment adviser, special aide on government performance, CDA chairman and the secretaries of finance, cabinet, power and housing.
Moreover, economic experts including Qaiser Bangali, Zubair Khan, Farrukh Salim and governance specialist Naveed Iftikhar were also included in the committee.
On the other hand, Former premier and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan has warned that Pakistan is likely to face Sri Lanka-like economic crisis in the coming days.
While addressing lawyers via video link in Lahore, Imran Khan expressed fear that the country would be running out of funds for purchasing oil like Sri Lanka.
Criticising Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, he said that the rulers kept marketing the issues of flood victims and lost their dignity by acting like beggars before the world. He also slammed PM Sharif by saying that the current premier faced embarrassment after offering friendly ties with India through dialogues.
Expressing grave concerns over the deteriorated economic situation, Imran Khan said that Pakistan’s default risk increased by up to 90% from 5% in April 2022.

He was of the view that Pakistan is not in a position to bargain with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) amid the prevailing situation. He said that IMF would only provide loans to Pakistan if the government accepts its strict conditions which will increase the inflation by up to 50%.