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Wednesday, July 17, 2024  
11 Muharram 1446  

Institutions no longer needed should either be shut down or merged: PM Shehbaz

PM Shehbaz calls for devising plan to shift to smart meters in power, gas sectors
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif presides over a meeting on economy in Islamabad on March 04, 2024. PID
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif presides over a meeting on economy in Islamabad on March 04, 2024. PID

Institutions that were no longer needed should either be merged or closed down, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said on Monday as he called for devising plans related to it.

“The government size will be reduced,” he was quoted as saying while presiding over a meeting on the country’s economy.

For long, economic experts have called shutting down institutions that serve the same purpose as other entities in the country to cut expenses.

They have stressed the need for making it part of the austerity measures as the country heads to seek its 24th bailout in 76 years with the same old economic problems.

A statement from the Prime Minister’s Office stated that the finance secretary briefed PM Shehbaz on the country’s economic situation. Photos from the Press Information Department showed State Bank of Pakistan Jameel Ahmed, Musadik Malik, Ahad Cheema, and economic experts in the meeting.

Shehbaz, who was sworn in as the prime minister earlier in the day, called for chalking out a plan for the recovery of the economy.

“We have got the mandate to improve the economy and this is our government’s priority,” he said and added that his government would work towards promoting investment in Pakistan and providing facilities to the business community.

Officials at the meeting told him that the Federal Board of Revenue has cleared tax refunds worth Rs65 billion. According to the tax collecting body, the outstanding refunds were paid to exporters.

The premier also stressed the need to proceed with talks with the IMF regarding the Extended Fund Facility. The lender has urged Pakistan to increase the tax base and tax the rich to protest the poor.

He hailed taxpayers for contributing to the country’s economy, however, he added that automation was vital to have transparency in the FBR.

“Work on automation of FBR and other institutions should be started immediately,” he said and added that loss-making government-owned institutions would be privatised so that such entities do not become a burden on the economy.

He directed that a committee should formulate a strategy for the reduction of privileges of members of government boards

Moreover, PM Shehbaz directed that an action plan should be prepared for the transition of power and gas sectors to smart metering. “Smart metering will help reduce line losses.”

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All banks and financial institutions should develop strategies for the promotion of small and medium enterprises to help the youth of the country to stand on their own feet, he added.

“The Special Investment Facilitation Council is an important step towards economic stability in the country which will be further strengthened,” he said.

According to the statement, the next meeting of the PM would be held regarding the FBR.

“Steps will be taken on emergency basis to provide facilities to the people,” he said and assured the business community, investors and youth of providing of facilities.

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