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June 12, 2019

Austerity drive fails to reduce PMO’s overall budget

Top Story

June 12, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan’s austerity drive and his decision not to live in the Prime Minister’s House and convert it into a university do not seem to have cut the overall spending, as the PMO not only spent more than the budgetary allocation for 2018-19, but it also demands higher budget for the year 2019-20.

Imran Khan has been accusing the past rulers of living a lavish life at the cost of publicmoney and paying millions to hundreds of employees of the Prime Minister’s House. However, the budget 2019-20 document shows that the PMO under Imran Khan spent more in 2018-19 and wants further more for 2019-2020.

In the last budget, presented by the then outgoing PML-N government, the PMO was allocated Rs986 million. When PM Imran Khan arrived, he launched an austerity drive, sold PMO’s vehicles and buffalos, promised to grossly cut the spending by keeping only few servants as against hundreds of those serving past rulers. However, the budget documents shows that the PMO under Imran Khan did overspending from Rs986 million allocated budget to Rs1.09 billion revised estimate.

For the year 2019-20, the Prime Minister’s Office is allocated Rs1.17 billion - more than Rs31 million of the amount allocated in the current year’s budget.

Although it was committed that hundreds of household employees under the PMO serving the past rulers like emperors at the cost of tax payers’ money will be relieved to save public money, the 2019-20 budget document shows the allocation of Rs79.5 million as wages of household servants. This allocation for the year 2019-20 is, however, less than the spending of Rs103m during the current fiscal year.

Under the head of state conveyances and motor cars, the PM’s Office spent Rs33 million during 2018-19 as against the allocated Rs37.9 million. However, for the year 2019-20 the government allocated Rs36.9 million- almost Rs4m more than the spending during the current fiscal year.

Under the head of Prime Minister’s Estate Garden establishment, the government has allocated Rs24m for the next fiscal year. This allocation is a cut from Rs33.6m that has been spent during the current fiscal year. Allocation for presents and charities has been reduced from Rs4m to Rs1m for the next fiscal year.

Employees related expenses of the PM’s Office are estimated Rs305m this year but increased to Rs407m for the next fiscal year. Operating expenses during the 2018-19 is estimated at Rs43m as against Rs51m allocation but Rs46m has been allocated for the next fiscal year.

Discretionary grant has been reduced from Rs1m to Rs1000 for next fiscal year. Against the allocation of Rs228m for staff and household for the year 2018-19, the PM Office’s spent an estimated Rs225m and allocated Rs216m for the next fiscal year.

As against the Prime Minister’s Office, the allocation for the wages of household servants of the Presidency is higher i.e. Rs115m. The PM’s Office allocation under this year for 2019-20 is Rs79.5m.

Similarly, for maintenance of gardens of the Presidency, the budget 2019-20 allocates Rs46m, which is far higher than the allocation for the PM’s Office/House gardens.

Allocation for the Presidency’s state conveyance and motorcars is Rs41m for the next fiscal year. Again this allocation under a particular head is more than what the budget allocates for the Prime Minister’s House.

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