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KP govt eyes Rs40 billion saving through austerity measures

Updated November 01, 2018

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Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly. — File Photo
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly. — File Photo

ISLAMABAD: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has notified austerity measures for the current fiscal year to ‘maintain fiscal discipline and control overexpenditure’ with an estimated saving of around Rs40bn.

In a notification conveyed to all provincial government departments, autonomous and semiautonomous bodies, high and lower courts, deputy commissioners, provincial assembly and the public service commission, the finance department said there would a complete ban on the creation of posts except for completed projects, medical treatment abroad on public expenditure and any increase in allowances and salaries until June 2019.

It said the austerity measures and ban on unnecessary expenses would come into force on Nov 1, 2018, and would last until June 2019 in line with the decision of the provincial cabinet’s Oct 15 meeting.

The notification said there would also be a complete ban on the purchase of new vehicles except ambulances, earthmoving machinery, fire trucks, tractors, non-luxury police vehicles, single cabin pickup 4 by 4 and 4 by 2, three-door jeeps, trucks, buses, prisoner vans, motorcycles, water bowser trucks, recovery/rescue vehicles, and rescue/lifesaving boats.

It also barred all officials from participating in workshops, seminars and trainings abroad involving provincial funds or holding of seminars and workshops in local five-star hotels involving provincial funds.

The order said the upgradation of posts, all types of allowances, and pay raise would also be banned until June 2019.

According to it, all administrative secretaries and heads of autonomous/semiautonomous bodies being the principal accounting officers would hold the meetings of the departmental accounts committees regularly while informing the finance department to ensure internal audit of their respective departments and organisations.

“To achieve the budgeted provincial revenue targets, the finance department shall convene monthly meetings to be attended by administrative secretaries of the departments concerned,” it said.

The notification said neither the contingent paid staff would be appointed during the financial year 2018-19 nor would any appointment be made to ‘leave vacancies’ without the prior approval of the finance department.

It added that no appointment would be made to vacant posts (except Class-IV) without obtaining the no objection certificate from the relevant surplus pool.

“The principal accounting officers will make sure that no appointment is made against a vacant post of dying cadre and will also initiate disciplinary action, if any such appointments have been made previously,” it added.

The notification said the expenditure would be restricted to the funds release, while the administrative departments wouldn’t incur expenditure in anticipation of additional or supplementary grants.

“No development scheme involving creation of posts (Revenue Component) will be considered without prior clearance of finance department,” it said.

The order also said department won’t retain receipts in bank accounts and would be bound to remit all receipts to provincial account forth with except where departments and facilities had been specifically permitted under some statute or an Act.

According to it, funds will not be utilised on account of annual and special repair of such roads and buildings repaired or rehabilitated during last three years except flood and earthquake affected government infrastructure.

Also, the advertisement charges allocated under the current revenue expenditure will be used on current side only.

As regards expenditure on developmental side, the necessary provision will be made in the PC-Is and cost estimates of the relevant schemes, while the devolved department’s expenditure on this account will be met out of Account-IV of the district concerned.

“All autonomous, semi-autonomous bodies, medical teaching institutions, other institutions and authorities under provincial government shall adopt the measures within their respective organizations with the approval of their competent forums,” it said.

The finance department ordered all administrative secretaries to submit viable proposals to finance department within a month to initiate the process of cost cutting in the current and development budget as well as suggestions for revenue enhancements.

“All such proposals shall be brought before the cabinet for approval,” the order said asking all concerned to implement those austerity measures in letter and spirit.

Published in Dawn, November 1st, 2018

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