LAHORE: The chief minister’s secretariat intends to reduce the number of officers as part of the public sector austerity drive before the upcoming financial budget.
Dr Zafar Iqbal Qureshi the chairman of the task force on Strategic Management was deputed recently to supervise the downsizing process. It was learnt that the number of officials would be reduced by 50 per cent in order to minimise the secretariat’s overall expenditure. The relinquished officers would be moved to other government departments.
The CM’s secretariat staff was increased from 615 to 913 (officers was increased from 60 to 98 and subordinates from 655 to 815) after the 2009-10 budget. A BS-20 secretary, a special scale officer, and two additional secretaries were accommodated by creating additional posts, according to the budget document. A BS-21 principle secretary to the Punjab CM was also hired. The post was established in 2007 and the current administration had announced to do away with it upon acquiring power in 2008.
The secretariat staff was further enlarged by hiring eight political assistants, ten chairpersons of task forces, and advisors and special assistants at 1,5,8 Club Road and 90 Shahra-i-Quaid-e-Azam Road.
A number of staffers at the secretariat said that the excessive staff should be sent back to their own departments. This would lessen the expenditures as all the subordinates would automatically be transferred along with the officers they added.
The staffers said that the downsizing of officials posted with secretaries, additional secretaries, deputy secretaries and section officers would be difficult because they were assisting the CM on various ongoing projects.
CM secretariat staff receives Rs121.50 million in salaries and Rs 67.18million in allowances, according to the current budget.
The government has further allocated Rs 27.03 million for operating expenditures, Rs 8.2 million for communication, Rs 2.36 million for utilities and Rs 8.19 million for travel and transportation. Rs 12 million have also been allocated under the section head of ‘entertainment and gifts’.