Saturday, February 18, 2023
ISLAMABAD: Minister for Planning Development and Special Initiatives Ahsan Iqbal on Saturday returned his expensive official vehicle provided to him for use as federal minister.
In his letter to Special Secretary Cabinet Division Ezaz Ahmed Dar, the federal minister said he was returning the vehicle in order to implement austerity measures announced by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to overcome the current economic challenges faced by the country.
The minister said that the country was standing at a crucial juncture and was “submerged in a variety of challenges,” underscoring the economic crisis as the worst of the challenges.
He added that as a member of the National Assembly, he had been given an expensive vehicle — Toyota Land Cruiser — with an engine capacity of 4,500cc.
However, he wrote, “due to the current situation the government is forced to take very harsh measures to rectify the deficits and control our expenditures".
Adding that the people of Pakistan were also asked to join hands with the government to collectively bear the burden of financial and economic hardships faced by the country, the minister said he felt it was his “duty” to surrender the big vehicle allotted to him.
He cited the exorbitant cost of fuel and maintenance as the reason for returning the vehicle and instead asked for a vehicle having 1,800cc or lesser engine capacity.
It must be mentioned here that Pakistan's economy is in dire straits, stricken by a balance-of-payments crisis as it attempts to service high levels of external debt amid political chaos and deteriorating security.
Inflation has rocketed, the rupee has plummeted and the country can no longer afford imports, causing a severe decline in the industry.
Daily life for the masses, which was already tough given the current state of the economy, got even harder after the petrol price surged to a historic high of Rs272 per litre, which will further aggravate the already record-high inflation.
Earlier, the PM had issued directions to the cabinet for reducing all non-developmental expenses to minimise the burden on the national exchequer.
— With additional input from APP