LAHORE: Finance minister Makhdum Hashim Jawan Bakht has asked the provincial departments to look at their finances through a new lens as austerity is the need of the hour at a time when Punjab is facing tough financial challenges.

Presiding over an austerity committee meeting here on Saturday, the minister stressed that every department should carry out a comprehensive review of its financial health. Different workshops and training seminars would be conducted for the finance-related capacity building of all departments, he added.

He stressed the need to cut down expenses and lessen the burden on the economy.

He asked all departments’ administrative secretaries to explore every avenue and option for expense curtailment, besides resource generation, including better usage of state-owned land.

“Any request for supplementary grants, if unavoidable, shall require approval of provincial cabinet or standing committee on finance and development,” he said.

Earlier, finance secretary Hamed Yaqoob Sheikh briefed the meeting that the prime minister had initiated an austerity drive to reduce the unnecessary expenditures out of public money.

The secretary said the finance department had earlier issued a list of austerity measures for the financial year 2018-19 after getting approval from Punjab caretaker government.

Published in Dawn, September 30th, 2018