The PTI-led government has slapped a ban on the purchase of all types of vehicles, creation of new posts, rationalised utilities spending, provision of one newspaper and keeping other expenditure at the bare minimum in order to ensure compliance on austerity drive during the current fiscal year.
The increasing budget deficit is a major area of concern for the government under the IMF programme and now the government has decided to show its political will to curtail the expenditure side through austerity drive. The austerity campaign had failed to yield any positive results during the last financial year 2018-19 when the budget deficit escalated to highest ever absolute figures during the first-year rule of PTI-led regime.
Although, the government had already slapped a ban on the provision of refreshments such as tea or biscuits during official meetings which sometimes irritated the bureaucrats. Some official meetings continued to proceed for hours on a daily basis so it created problems for those who are diabetic or suffering from other illness.
However, according to Office Memorandum (OM) issued by Ministry of Finance on Friday owing to financial constraints the competent authority is pleased to enforce austerity measures during the financial year 2019-20 with immediate effect:-
(i) There will be a complete ban on purchase of all types of vehicles (excluding motorcycles) both for current as well as development expenditure.
(ii) Creation of new posts will be banned except those required for development projects and approved by the competent authority.
(iii) Entitlement of periodical, magazines, newspapers etc of entitled officers will remain restricted to only one.
(iv) Principal Accounting Officers (PAOs) will ensure rationalised utility consumption i.e. electricity, gas, telephone, water etc and the expenditure on purchase of assets, repair & maintenance and other operational expenditure shall be kept at bare minimum level while remaining within the budgetary allocation for the financial year.
(v) Two sides of paper shall be used in all official communications.
To cater to the indispensable needs of the ministries/divisions/departments/organisations the competent authority is pleased to constitute an Austerity Committee comprising following officers to review the critical, unavoidable and significant proposals only in respect of the purchase of vehicles/creation of posts. The Austerity Committee will be comprised of (i) Additional Finance Secretary (Expenditure) (In Chair) (ii) Senior Joint Secretary/Joint Secretary (Expenditure) (Member) (iii) Senior Joint Secretary/Joint Secretary (Member) (Exp. – of ministry/division) concerned, finance division (iv) CF&AO of the ministry/division concerned (Member) (v) Representative of the ministry/division concerned (Member)/Department (Not less than an officer in BS-20) (vi) Deputy Secretary (Expenditure) (Secretary)
All ministries/divisions are requested to disseminate the instructions to all departments under their administrative control for strict compliance.