The Pakistan government has decided to cut by 10 per cent the non-salary current budget of the civilian setup as part of an austerity drive to solve the cash-strapped nation's economic woes, according to a media report. The Express Tribune reported that the move will help save nearly Rs 10 billion in the remainder period of fiscal year (2018-19) but would not address core fiscal problems. "In consideration of fiscal constraints and keeping in view the austerity drive of present government and to save public money, it has been decided to effect a saving of 10 per cent in current expenditures," said the ministry of finance office memorandum.
The 10 per cent cut will not be applicable on employees' related expenses, their retirement benefits, subsidies, transfers, and civil works. The military budget has also not been slashed. The total downward revised annual budget for running the civil government is Rs 460 billion for fiscal year 2018-19. Nearly 70 per cent expenditures have been exempted from the budget cut, which would reduce the net benefit to not more than Rs 10 billion, according to an official of the Ministry of Finance. The total non-salary expenditures are Rs 180 billion and some components like transfers and civil works are exempted from the cut. The total budget for this fiscal year is Rs 5.3 trillion. Out of this, an amount of Rs 1.1 trillion has been allocated for defence and Rs 1.842 trillion for servicing of the public debt.
Prime Minister Imran Khan, after his swearing on August 18, moved into a modest three-bed room house of his military secretary along with two servants. He had announced that he would not be staying in the sprawling PM House which has a staff of 524 and fleet of 80 vehicles, keeping his pledge to cut down the expenditure of the cash-strapped government.