Tuesday August 16, 2022

Austerity measures planned to save money, conserve energy

June 06, 2022

ISLAMABAD: The Shehbaz Sharif government has prepared a plan for a set of austerity measures, including a 5-day work week, work from home for one day, early closure of commercial markets, reduction in fuel quota of bureaucrats, ban on purchase of all types of vehicles and creation of new posts, etc.

The austerity measures, to be presented before the cabinet for approval, are aimed at saving energy, reducing oil consumption and minimising government’s spending to save money. Short-term actions include 5-day work week for conservation of energy, option of work from home for one day in a week (4-day work at office and one day from home), switching of alternate street/ public lights, early closure of commercial markets, mandatory bi-annual tuning of vehicles, tractors’ repair and maintenance for better performance, and behaviour change for energy efficiency and conservation for which a massive awareness campaign will be launched.

The plan includes complete ban on purchase of all types of vehicles from current and development budget except utility vehicles such as ambulances, buses for educational institutions, solid waste vehicles, etc. There will also be a ban on creation of new posts except for development projects.

Ban is also proposed on i) purchase of office furniture except for developmentprojects; ii) purchase of machinery and equipment including air conditioners, microwaves, fridge, photocopiers, etc.

A ban is also proposed on all official visits by government functionaries where government of Pakistan funding is involved except obligatory visits. Ban on official lunches, dinners, hi-tea except for foreign delegations is also proposed. Ban on the purchase of periodicals, magazines and newspapers in government offices is also proposed.

The Principal Accounting Officers of all government institutions and agencies will be required to ensure i) consumption of utilities reduce by 10%, ii) Existing entitlement for POL for government servants be reduced by 30%, iii) curtail avoidable travel by promoting use of zoom/ videocon, iv) reduce expenditure on advertisement/ publicity. Only public interest campaigns may be allowed, v) abolish vacant, redundant and non-productive posts, vi) review and determine need for autonomous bodies, authorities, corporations etc. to reduce expenditure.