Govt departments causing ‘billions in losses’ to be shut down: PM Shehbaz

Published June 15, 2024
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif addresses the nation on Saturday. — DawnNewsTV
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif addresses the nation on Saturday. — DawnNewsTV

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Saturday said that government departments and institutions incurring billions in losses to the nation and the exchequer would be shut down once a committee finished its review of the matter.

In an address to the nation today, the prime minister said it was the first duty of the government to reduce lavish expenses and close departments and ministries not related to public service such as the Pakistan Public Works Department, saying it was included among those institutions that were infamous for corruption.

He said a ministerial committee was made to deliberate on the issue of such redundant ministries and departments, saying he would bring positive results in the next two months and all such departments which had become a burden on the country and its people would be shut down.

“I think this is a step that will save billions.”

He further said that the government had decided that all those organisations and institutions which were becoming a basis for losses worth billions to the country would be privatised and those amounts recouped.

The premier said the government had decided to save expenses wherever possible and adopt austerity. PM Shehbaz said the government would no longer set up businesses of its own but would promote the private sector and private investment.

The premier recounted how the coalition government of the Pakistan Democratic Movement had taken the reins of power in April 2022 and saved the country from default. He credited the leaders of the coalition and its allies for the achievement, mentioning Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl chief Fazlur Rehman as well.

“Today, Pakistan is steadily getting out of economic difficulties and moving towards the path of development and prosperity.”

He said the journey ahead was not only difficult and long but also demanded “sacrifice” from the elites and government functionaries. “The whole nation’s gaze is focused on the government and how we will bring a revolution of prosperity in the country by ending its economic troubles.”

PM Shehbaz said since the PML-N had assumed control of the government again after the February 8 elections and he was re-elected as the premier, inflation had dropped to 12 per cent due to the government’s efforts, terming it a “positive change”.

Similarly, he said the interest rate was slashed to 20pc from 22pc and this would promote investment in the country and reduce the burden of loan interest on the country. Shehbaz said 100 days had passed of the incumbent government and pointed out Friday’s slashes in the prices of petroleum products, saying it would afford “some relief” to the people from inflation.

“This I think is not enough,” he said, adding that there were great expectations of further relief for the people from the current economic indicators so far. He said the government would strive to further reduce inflation, promote business and investment and provide education to the country’s youth.

“I think crying over the past will achieve nothing but we should learn a lesson from its mistakes about what we lost in the past and how we will restore Pakistan its lost status by making up for those mistakes.”

He said if the whole nation decided to bury personal ego and interest in pursuit of serving the poor then “I can assure you very soon that stage will come of which Quaid-i-Azam and all those who migrated during partition dreamt of.”

Mentioning his recent trips to the Middle East and China, he said commitments for investment were secured and the government had devised a road map to benefit from and implement the agreements.

The premier said the environment also needed to be made conducive for domestic investment before any foreign investment.

The prime minister vowed that once the nation strictly followed through on a likely upcoming programme with the International Monetary Fund and the government achieved its targets, then the upcoming programme would hopefully be the last one in the country’s history.

“We will then stand on our own feet and leave our neighbours behind in the race towards progress.”

PM Shehbaz said 300,000 Pakistani students would be trained by China in information technology every year and the sector would be further promoted in the country.

Explaining the decision to make the industrial and export sectors competitive, he said electricity prices were reduced for the sectors in a “historic step and quantum jump” that will reduce the burden of Rs200 billion on them.

He said another testament to the government’s recently unveiled federal budget was the rise in the Pakistan Stock Exchange to 77,000 points, an all-time high. “This means business and trader groups have endorsed the budget,” he added.

PM Shehbaz said the government had decided to further promote the agriculture sector and “establish new records” for IT exports.

The prime minister said it would not be an “easy path” and recounted the past, saying that whenever the country was progressing forward, setbacks occurred to derail the momentum.

He said the enemy of the country’s progress was “every terrorist who spreads chaos and is busy in running off investment from the country”, along with smugglers, power utility thieves, profiteers, hoarders, tax thieves, inefficient state departments, lazy state employees, those who abused martyrs and those who spread political instability.

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