Islamabad: A day after Pakistan Peoples Party’s core committee meeting, the government announced it would cut the size of the federal cabinet – a decision that has to be taken by June this year to implement the 18th Amendment.
Prime Minister Yusaf Raza Gilani said that after consultation with president Asif Ali Zardari a decision has been taken to re-shuffle the federal cabinet and its size would be determined as per the 18th Constitutional Amendment soon. Referring to the country’s political situation, Mr. Gilani said that the government wants to take along all the political parties and we are acting upon the policy of reconciliation.
The government has been under pressure to curtail government expenditures and plug corruption in order to save the already devastated economy from further deterioration. The main opposition party, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, has been pressing the government to implement a reform agenda.
Law Minister Babar Awan announced that the government has decided on “rightsizing” the cabinet to save expenditures. The number of ministries to be devolved is yet to be determined and which ministers will be shown the door.
Under the 18th amendment, the concurrent list was abolished and a number to subjects shifted to the provinces. The number of cabinet members has been fixed to 11 per cent of the total 442-member strength of parliament. A committee is already working for the implementation of the amendment.
The government plans to devolve 10 ministries by February this year, while around another eight will be devolved by June. Some of the ministries will be handed over to the provinces, while others will be merged. As a first step, the government is likely to slash the ministers of state – portfolios that have no significant powers under the rules of business, but a tag used to get perks and privileges as political bribe.
Input from agencies