ISLAMABAD: The incumbent government introduced a comprehensive austerity drive in all departments to save Rs 147 million in the expenses of the Prime Minister’s House so far which would ultimately increase at the culmination of full one year, Advisor to PM Iftikhar Durrani said Wednesday.
Addressing a press conference on Wednesday, Advisor to Prime Minister on Media Affairs Iftikhar Durrani highlighted the savings in various heads at Prime Minister’s House and said that the saved amount would be spent on public welfare projects including health and nutrition sectors. He said that repair and maintenance cost had been reduced from Rs 8 million to Rs 3.4 million while daily expense had also been curtailed which was earlier spent on buffaloes, purchased for the ex-Prime Minister.
Durrani said that 200 out of 522 employees of Prime Minister’s House and Secretariat had been adjusted in other areas while 125 other employees would be phased out in the next step. He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan has full regard for the feelings of the poor and has made it clear to all ministers during a cabinet meeting to introduce austerity measures in their departments.
“From the next week, the ministers would brief about the austerity measures adopted in their departments,” he added. Durrani said that country has a sincere and honest leadership and various countries including China, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar are willing to invest in Pakistan. Regarding 100-day plan of the government, the minister said that it was for the strategic direction of the government and achievements would be shared with media after completion of 100 days on November 29. He said that several experts had been involved in various government projects and tangible achievements during the last 100 days were among the hallmarks of the present government. To a question about Seraiki Province, he said that Punjab government and a task force are working on it and an administrative structure is being planned in Multan during the initial phase.
About outstanding payments to media houses, he said that the present government did not run any campaign on print or electronic media and these payments of the previous tenure would be made at earliest. Durrani said that the prime minister had directed the Ministry of Information and the Government of Punjab to pay the amount of Rs 3 billion “ It is totally wrong impression that media houses are sacking employees due to non-payment of dues,” he said adding that PTI government did not leave any outstanding bill in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa during its last tenure.
To a question about his dual nationality, he said: “I am a Pakistani, having a green passport and assure on oath to own nothing in any foreign country.”
He said that government is not involved in disturbing the decorum of Parliament as Opposition lawmakers have also the responsibility which is not being fulfilled by them. He said that it never happened that Opposition protested during the maiden speech of the prime minister. To a query, Durrani said that the rule is being amended in the National Assembly following which prime minister would personally answer the questions once in a week.
The advisor, responding to another question, said that prime minister is a tough political manager and he is reviewing the performance of all cabinet members. He (prime minister) has the authority to reshuffle cabinet members if he deems it necessary, he added.
Durrani said that detailed assessment and evaluation have been made to set up a university at Prime Minister’s House as this decision was earlier made to change the colonial mindset.
About the participation of foreign delegation at Milaad Conference being organised by the government, Iftikhar Durrani said a briefing would be held on Thursday to formally decide about their participation.