Pakistan cuts government expenses by 15pc to save $766m annually  

| Updated: February 24, 2023 19:31:42

Pakistan cuts government expenses by 15pc to save $766m annually  

Pakistan's government will cut back allowances and travel expenses of ministers and advisers as part of an austerity drive that will save it 200 billion rupees ($766 million) a year.

The belt tightening comes as Islamabad - which is facing a balance of payment crisis - thrashes out a deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to secure funds worth $1 billion which have been pending since late last year over policy issues.

Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Wednesday said all federal ministries and government offices have been directed to reduce expenditure by 15 per cent and that he had asked his ministers and advisers to forgo salaries, allowances, luxury cars, foreign trips and business class travel, according to Reuters.

Ministers agreed to the measures voluntarily, he said.

"These austerity measures will save us 200 billion rupee annually," Sharif told a news conference in Islamabad.

The South Asian nation hopes to secure funds from the IMF soon, Sharif said, adding the stringent measures were part of the requirements the lender had asked Pakistan to fulfil before finalising a deal.

Talks between Pakistan and the IMF are due to conclude this week, officials say.

Before the talks the IMF had asked Pakistan to take a host of prior actions, which included withdrawal of subsidies, hiking energy tariffs, and raising extra revenues.

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