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MPs to get Rs.90 billion amid economic morass

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ISLAMABAD(Republic policy):
Amid the National Austerity Committee’s recommendation to review the practice of dolling out billions of rupees to parliamentarians, the government decided to further increase the discretionary spending budget to a whopping Rs90 billion.

As the country is also at the risk of default, the National Austerity Committee recommended slashing the federal cabinet to just 30 members from the current almost 77, including special assistants to the prime minister.

The committee sought 10% decrease in the salary and allowance of legislators as well as 15% cut in the current expenditure of ministries.

The committee finalised some useful recommendations and it was now up to the government to either implement them or put in the cupboard, as had been done in the past.

Sources in the Ministry of Planning said that the government decided to give another Rs3 billion to the parliamentarians by slashing the budget of an educational institute and the Innovation Support Project – speaking volumes about the priorities of the ruling alliance.

The government decided to slash the Rs1.4 billion budget of the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE), Rs800 million allocation for the construction of the Planning House and another Rs800 million from the budget of the Innovative Support Project.

The development came amid the National Austerity Committee’s under-consideration proposal to stop such funding to the parliamentarians’ schemes.
The committee, which met for the consecutive second day on Tuesday under the chairmanship of Nasir Khosa, prepared a draft of its recommendations that will soon be sent to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

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