The cash-strapped Pakistan government has dismissed as “baseless” reports of Prime Minister Imran Khan getting a near-four-fold hike in salary, according to media reports.
The clarification was issued after news reports claimed the prime minister’s gross salary would be increased from Rs 2,01,574 to around Rs 8,00,000.
“At a time when the prime minister was carrying out a campaign to slash the government’s expenditures, the propagation of such a baseless and concocted news report was unfortunate,” the Prime Minister’s Office spokesperson was quoted as saying by Dawn News.
Khan recently said he could not manage his household expenses from his official salary, the report said.
“We have reduced the expenses of the Prime Minister House by 40 per cent. I live in my own home, pay my own expenses. My (official) salary is not enough to cover the expenses of my own household,” Khan said.
He has also claimed that his foreign visits have cost the exchequer 10 times less than his predecessors.
Khan said his visit to Switzerland earlier in the month for the World Economic Forum was the “cheapest” by a Pakistani state leader.
Khan said his trip was sponsored by two businessmen.
According to The News, Khan earned Rs 1,96,979 after deductions, as per his February 2019 pay slip.
The Pakistan government has been implementing austerity measures to improve the country’s finances. In July last year, Pakistan registered a currency reserve of less than USD 8 billion — enough to cover only 1.7 months of imports.
In August 2018, Pakistan approached the International Monetary Fund for a bailout package after the Khan government took over.
The IMF formally approved the USD 6 billion loan to Pakistan in July 2019, citing “significant” economic challenges.
Pakistan has so far received billions in financial aid packages from friendly countries like China, Saudi Arabia and the UAE during the current fiscal year.