The Federal Cabinet on Tuesday held a thorough discussion on the ‘austerity policy,’ which would be finalized in a couple of days by a committee chaired by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, to ensure judicious utilization of available resources.
“The PM has chaired 3-4 meetings of the committee during the last days. A conclusive meeting will be held on Thursday. We will discuss the policy with all provinces tomorrow and the day after tomorrow for getting their input. Their suggestions will be incorporated in the policy,” Minister for Defence Khawaja Muhammad Asif told the media after the cabinet meeting. He was flanked by Adviser to the PM on Kashmir Affairs Qamar Zaman Kaira and Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb.
The defence minister said the committee, working on the austerity policy and consisting of 10 federal ministers and four secretaries, was aimed at limiting the nation’s living and working styles within the available resources.
Elaborating main contours of the policy, Khawaja Asif said as per the estimates there would be a saving of around Rs 56 billion annually if the 20 percent workforce of the public sector departments started performing their duties online/working from home on rotation. “The estimate [of Rs 56 billion annual saving] is not inflated rather it is almost 10-15 percent less than the actual evaluation.” He said the timings of wedding halls would be limited to 10 p.m., while restaurants, hotels, and markets would close down by 8 p.m., however, there could be some room to extend the restaurants’ closing time by one hour. “With the implementation of this step, there will be a saving of Rs 62 billion [annually], he added.