Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Federal Cabinet resigns; PM hails performance

Federal Cabinet resigns; PM hails performanceISLAMABAD: The Federal Cabinet ministers have tendered their resignations to Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani, who intends to dissolve the cabinet and appoint a smaller version to tackle economic problems, Geo News reported.

According to the report, the ministers submitted resignations during the last meeting of the current Cabinet held here on Wednesday. The State Ministers were not invited in the meeting.

"Today's meeting is going to be the last meeting of the present cabinet," Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani told the cabinet.

While hailing the performance of Cabinet ministers, PM said that 77pc of the cabinet's decisions have been implemented while 175 other decisions are being implemented.

The PPP's Central Executive Committee (CEC) in its last meeting had decided for right sizing of the Cabinet under 18th amendment and in consultation with the coalition partners in a view to cut down government expenditures.

Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) said on Wednesday that the government needed to do far more to curb spending than simply appointing a new cabinet.

"We have demanded a 30-percent reduction in government expenditure... So far we are disappointed. The 45-day period will be over before the end of the month but they have done nothing tangible," said party spokesman Siddiqul Farooq.

"We may think seriously about making an appeal to the people of Pakistan to demand fresh elections. We have to see the size and the credibility of the new cabinet members. Only then can we say whether it fulfills our demand."

Jamaat-i-Islami said that up to 90 people enjoyed ministerial perks including advisors and special assistants to those holding the cabinet portfolios.

"It was a huge burden on our economy and the national exchequer," party spokesman Farid Paracha said.

"They must cut their lavish spending and curtail non development expenditure by at least 30 percent because the economy is heading towards collapse, Paracha added."

Analysts were also sceptical, saying the resignations are unlikely to satisfy the IMF and international donors.

"The government will have to slash the number of ministries and surplus people in order to ensure substantive expenditure cuts. Merely downsizing the cabinet cabinet will not do any good," said economic analyst Salman Shah.
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