Prime Minister (PM) Shehbaz Sharif has announced major cuts in perks and facilities that were being given to the federal cabinet as the economic crisis worsens.

Addressing a press conference on Wednesday in Islamabad, the Premier, flanked by members of the federal cabinet, said that ministers, state ministers and special advisers had decided “willingly” to forego their salaries and perks. He said that all ministers would now pay their own telephone, electricity, water and gas bills.

The premier further said that federal ministers would also travel in economy class and will not stay in five-star hotels during foreign trips.

RELATED STORIES

He asserted that no cabinet member or government officer will use a luxury car, adding that “Until June 2024, there will be a complete ban on purchasing all types of new cars.”

The head of government also said that “to conserve gas and electricity, advice for opening offices at 7:30am during summer has been accepted.”

Shehbaz Sharif said that it has also been decided that government employees will not be allotted more than one plot, saying that this would be implemented from tomorrow.

He said that in terms of food, only a single dish would be allowed at government events.

Talking about the Toshakhana, the premier said that the federal cabinet has decided that no one will be allowed to retain state gifts worth more than $300 (approx. Rs70,000). He also added that the government has decided to make the Toshakhana record public.

Responding to a question from a reporter, PM Shehbaz said that the measures would save Rs200 billion annually.

He said that matters with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are at the “last stage” and hoped that everything will go well.

The development has taken place while Pakistan is eyeing a staff-level agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) this week as the country reels under a foreign reserve shortage.

Earlier this week, the National Assembly passed the IMF-dictated Finance (Supplementary) Bill 2023, seeking to impose an additional Rs170 billion in taxes.