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Pakistan’s PM directs the foreign office to cut expenses and the number of missions abroad to reduce expenditure: Report

In an effort to cut down spending by 15%, the PM reportedly gave the Ministry of Foreign Affairs instructions to close down a number of diplomatic embassies abroad and scale back on their offices, staff and other operations.

In face of a mounting economic crisis and no tangible signs of relief, Pakistan’s prime minister, Shehbaz Sharif, in an attempt to reduce expenses, has issued a fresh directive to the foreign office urging it to implement cost-cutting measures.

With no financial assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) or “friendly nations,” the government of Pakistan has undertaken a comprehensive austerity drive to manage its faltering economy.

In an effort to cut down spending by 15%, the Pakistani PM reportedly gave the Ministry of Foreign Affairs instructions to close down a number of diplomatic embassies abroad and scale back on their offices, staff and other operations.

A statement from the PM Office read, “The prime minister is pleased to direct that a well-considered proposal/ plan in this respect may please be submitted to this office within two weeks positively.”

According to this official message titled “Rationalization of Foreign Mission Abroad,” the prime minister was glad to establish a National Austerity Committee (NAC) in light of the ongoing economic restrictions and the ensuing necessity for fiscal consolidation and control of the external deficit. In addition to cutting spending to lower the budget deficit, NAC attempts to conserve resources and implement stringent measures to ensure the wise use of public funds.

 The budget reduction for Pakistani missions abroad was suggested by the committee.

“This may be achieved by curtailing the number of Foreign Missions, reduction in the number of officers and staff posted there and other suitable measures,” it said.

The committee has proposed that multiple parcels of properties be retrieved from judges, military and civil officials and other elements of society.

In addition, it advocated a 10% salary cut for all government workers through June 2024, along with a 15% cut in member of parliament (MP)s’ wages and benefits. It further recommended installing pre-paid metres nationally in the gas and electricity industries.

Pakistan’s economy is in the worst state it has ever been in, and has no alternative, but to implement strict economic measures in order to obtain financial aid from the IMF.

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