Pakistan to cut government expenses by 15% in austerity drive




Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has announced a cut back on government expenses by 15% in an austerity drive to stave off an economic meltdown, as per Reuters.

The PM asked his ministers and advisers on Wednesday to forgo salaries, allowances, luxury cars, foreign trips and business class travel, as part of an austerity drive that will save the government 200 billion rupees ($766 million) a year.”

The budget tightening comes as Islamabad is currently facing a balance of payment crisis and Pakistan hopes to secure funds from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) soon. Sharif has said that these measures are part of the requirements IMF being the money lender, had asked Pakistan to fulfil as part of a deal.

According to officials, talks between Pakistan and the IMF are scheduled to conclude this week. Prior to the talks, IMF had demanded for Pakistan to take a number of measures, which included a withdrawal of subsidies, hiking energy tariffs, and raising extra revenues.