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Wednesday July 17, 2024

PM Shehbaz vows to abolish all ministries, departments burdening exchequer

"The current IMF programme will be the last in Pakistan's history," says premier in address to nation

By Web Desk
June 15, 2024
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is addressing the nation on June 15, 2024. — PID
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is addressing the nation on June 15, 2024. — PID

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has vowed to abolish all institutions, ministries and departments that have become a burden on the national exchequer, saying that this move alone will save tax payers’ billions of rupees and put the country on the path of prosperity.

The prime minister, in his first address to the nation after federal budget for the fiscal year 2024-25, discussed the government's steps and policies to stabilise the country's economy and bring prosperity to the masses.

“The abolition of all ministries and department which, instead of serving [nation], have become a burden on the masses is indispensable,” the premier stated in his address which also marked the government's 100 days this evening.

PM Shehbaz said that it was the prime obligation of the government to end all the luxurious expenses and such institutions that didn't have anything to do with the public service, such as Public Works Department (PWD).

This department is known as the "most notorious" one in terms of corruption, he added.

The premier bashed the said department's perks and privileges, including the salaries, which according to him were no less than Rs2 billion annually. He said that funds they get from different ministries and departments for developmental works would account up to several hundred billions.

He claimed that if the department had a pool of a hundred billion rupees for developmental funds then 50% or even more than that goes into corruption.

The premier said that a ministerial committee had been formed for this purpose. He promised the nation to bring positive results in this regard in a few months.

He said that this move will not only save billions of rupees but also prove to be a milestone in the way of prosperity for Pakistan.

The prime minister also announced that one of the world's top companies had been tasked with the complete digitisation of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR). 

"Inefficient personnel within the FBR have been sidelined," he added.

'Current IMF deal to be last in Pakistan's history'

PM Shehbaz also pledged to rid the country of International Monetary Fund (IMF), saying that the next deal for a bailout package with the global lender will be the last in the country’s history.

"The current IMF programme will be the last in Pakistan's history," the PM said. 

The highlight of PM Shehbaz's address was his pledge to put an end to Pakistan's dependence on foreign aid and bailouts.

The government is currently in talks with the Fund for a loan estimated to be anything between $6 billion to $8 billion, as Pakistan strives to secure a loan programme to avert a default for a slow paced economy.

PM Shehbaz Sharif mentioned that there were countries in the world that sought assistance from the IMF once and never needed it again.

"We have approached the IMF 24 to 25 times. I assure you today, if we adhere to our programme and targets, the next IMF agreement will be the last in Pakistan's history," PM Shehbaz said.

He expressed optimism that Pakistan would surpass its neighbouring countries in terms of stability and self-sufficiency.

The PM urged the entire nation to steer the country towards progress and prosperity.

Govt achieved results on economic front in first 100 days

“When we came to power, the economic conditions at that time were evident to everyone, and we saved the country from default," he said while referring to the previous PML-N led-coalition government.

He gave credit to former Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) alliance and the top leaders of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) including President Asif Ali Zardari and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, and alliance chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman for pulling the country out of difficult economic situation.

PM Shehbaz said that since he retook the reins of the country with the help of people's support in form of votes and trust, inflation had dropped to 12% from 38% as a result of the government's policies.

Similarly, he said, that the interest rate on loans had been slashed to 20.5% from previous 22%.

"This would encourage investment and stimulate business activities for the country to walk down the path of prosperity at a greater pace," PM Shehbaz said.

He said that the prudent policies had yielded positive results and now economy was gradually stabilising.

The PM also noted that all economic indicators were on a positive trajectory.

He then referred to the latest petrol and diesel price cuts as a "relief" to the inflation-hit masses.

PM Shehbaz, however, admitted that these steps were still not enough amid "storm of inflation" during the last four years that "broke the backbone" of poor class.

Appreciating his government's prudent economic policies, he said the country was now moving on a path of progress after coming out of economic difficulties.

"However, this way is not only difficult and long but also requires sacrifice from higher-ups in the government and the elite. The entire nation's eyes are set on the government to see how it steers Pakistan out of the economic crisis and brings about a revolution of prosperity in the country," he added.

300,000 Pakistanis to be trained in China

PM Shehbaz promised the nation to take further measures to keep providing relief to them and bringing down the inflation, expand investments and provide opportunities of higher education to the youngsters.

Talking about his visits to China and other countries, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said that a system had been established to fully benefit from investments by friendly nations.

He stressed creating an environment that is conducive to both domestic and foreign investments, ensuring the public sees solid results.

He also announced plans to train 300,000 Pakistanis in information technology through collaboration with China and to expand IT infrastructure across the country.

'Rising above personal interest'

PM Shehbaz said that he promises that the dream of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah and those who laid sacrifices in the making of this country will come true if the entire nation unites on this point that they have to end their personal hatred and ego and rise above the personal interest to serve the poor and destitute.

"We are not only serious about making Quaid's dream true but also assure the nation that no difficulty would be an obstacle in our way if we work hard and keep the sentiment of sacrifice and selflessness alive," he added.

The prime minister said: "Lamenting the past serves no purpose; instead, we must learn from it to reclaim Pakistan's lost glory."

He emphasised the commitment to realising the vision of Quaid-e-Azam, saying that with a spirit of sacrifice and dedication, "no one can impede our progress."

PM urges narrowing gap between rich, poor

The Prime Minister underscored the need to narrow the gaping divide between the rich and the poor, remarking that "the elite are living like royals while salaried class is crushed under the dead weight of taxes".

In a bid to boost the literacy rate in the country, he said his government had declared an emergency in the education sector to address urgent needs.

He further stated that institutions dealing billions of rupees of losses annually to the national exchequer over the last many decades were being sold to generate resources. By adopting austerity, the government aims to save money.

"Instead of establishing factories, we will encourage private sector investment to boost trade," the PM said.

He noted that all the past attempts of PML-N governments to put the country on the path of progress had always been scuppered by out-of-the-blue disasters or obstacles.

The PM minced no words as he dubbed terrorists, robbers, electricity pilferers, profiteers, tax evaders, and corrupt officials antagonists of national development and stability and added that "anyone" who disrespected martyrs and veterans was a foe to the nation's progress and prosperity.

Summing up his address, the PM in his concluding remarks said: "A clear path for the future has been chosen, with no extravagance on public funds and every penny of the nation will be spent on the country's development."