As feared, the strict austerity policy announced in February that aimed to save government funds is being ignored by cabinet members after just a month. In a meeting of the monitoring committee to check the implementation of the policy, it was revealed that more than half of the luxury vehicles given to members have not been returned and the use of cars above the luxury limit still continues.
Unfortunately, installing an austerity drive without a solid accountability or monitoring mechanism was likely to reach such conclusions. Forgoing luxury cars was a key facet of the measure and the staggering number of members unwilling to follow suit is an indication of the non-seriousness of the government. At this rate, the yearly target of $766 million in government funds saved is unlikely to be achieved and has been confirmed to be incredibly unrealistic.
The optics of the situation only make matters worse for the public which is crushed under consistent price hikes as the government scurries to avoid sovereign default. Pakistan has been in dire need of funds and the release of these funds is at the expense of skyrocketing inflation and taxes. This is one of the worst cost-of-living crises faced by the nation and within this backdrop, such performative austerity measures are disappointing.
This is just one aspect of the measures which are being contested. A thorough inspection and progress report on the list of austerity measures is needed and while little comeback is expected from the government at present, we must move toward better economic policies. As experts have predicted, there is little hope for economic recovery as inflation is due to increase. Matters will be made worse until they are made better and a disgruntled public is justified. For individuals being pushed below the poverty line, such belt-tightening measures do not provide any relief. Therefore, while measures have been outlined and serious concerns expressed, there is little hope for the drive.