Why we need oversized cabinet in the middle of an economic crisis?

 With the induction of 8 new special assistants in the federal cabinet, the cabinet swelled to 70

Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif has inducted 8 new special assistants in the federal cabinet yesterday. All the new special assistants belong to PPP. The total strength of federal cabinet now stands at 70. This oversized cabinet is not sending the right message to the people. It gives the message that whatever happened to people of Pakistan, the elitist politicians are trying to live on the state resources.
With the eight new special assistants to the prime minister, the cabinet now consists of 34 federal ministers, including one without portfolio, seven ministers of state, four advisers to the PM and 25 SAPMs. All the cabinet members are entitled to many perks and privileges including salary, cars, staff, petrol and offices. All this cost lot of money to national exchequer.  
According to the notification, the premier was “pleased” to appoint MNA Iftikhar Ahmed Khan Babar, MNA Maher Irshad Ahmad Khan, MNA Raza Rabbani Khar, MNA Mahesh Kumar Malani, Faisal Karim Kundi, Sardar Saleem Haider, Tasneem Ahmed Qureshi and Mohammad Ali Shah Bacha.

This oversized cabinet when the country is in deep economic crisis rightly raised eyebrows and draw severe criticism. There is no justification of this big cabinet when half of the country is inundated in water. The floods and torrential monsoon rains has caused wide spread devastation in Sindh and Balochistan. The people need food, medicine, shelter and other essentials of life. The government is asking the international community and rich in the country to support the 35 million flood affected people.

At a time when the economy is going downhill, petroleum prices and inflation are record high and the country is seeking global aid in the wake of torrential rains and flash floods causing unprecedented devastation, the decision to appoint eight new SAPMs drew criticism from different quarters.

When the country need every penny for the relief and rehabilitation of flood affected people, how a government can appoint so many special assistants in the federal cabinet. It is clearly wastage of already scarce resources. 

This decision of keeping a large cabinet seems political. PM Shahbaz Sharif is leading a coalition government consisting of several political parties and every party wants representation in the cabinet. This big sized cabinet might a political necessity but clearly a burden on the economy and resources.  

The country’s economy is broken and the working class and middle class find it extremely difficult to manage their monthly expenses due to the rising inflation. Soon after the notification of new SAPMs started circulating on social media, people criticized the government for increasing the size of the cabinet just to keep the allies happy. They wondered why the government would burden the national kitty when it was asking the world to help the flood victims while expressing its inability to do it alone.

We need to bring down the size of federal cabinet. The government should cut the size of the federal cabinet to save some money. Many ministries at the federal level have already been devolved to provinces under 18th amendment.  

                                                                 The Editorial Board


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