The serving of snacks and refreshments at meetings at the chief minister’s secretariat was banned on Wednesday to save public money.
Secretariat officials said they had been prohibited from helping themselves to snacks from the secretariat’s kitchen. They said the officials had also been prohibited from offering snacks to their personal and official visitors.
The directive was issued after violations of a guideline issued earlier were reported.
The government had introduced austerity measures a year earlier. As part of the initiative, officials had been directed to avoid holding meetings at hotels. Hosting banquets for state delegations was an exception to the rule subject to approval by the chief minister. It had also been decided to offer only tea and biscuits at official meetings.
The secretariat had received some complaints regarding meals and snacks being offered to guests attending meetings being chaired by the chief minister. The chief minister chairs four to five meetings a day.
Taking strict notice of the violation, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has instructed the chief comptroller and events manager at 90,
The Mall, to strictly implement austerity measures. Sharif directed the officials to ensure that only tea and biscuits were served in meetings at the secretariat. Officials said meals and snacks would only be offered to guests with the prior approval of the chief minister.
The chief minister has instructed the officials to ensure that secretaries, special secretaries, additional secretaries, personal staff officers, deputy secretaries and protocol officers serving at the secretariat enforce the directive strictly. The secretariat had earlier banned use of sugar on the premises as part of the austerity drive.
The chief minister’s secretariat operates out of 5, 7, 8, 8-A Golf Road and 90, The Mall.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 28th, 2014.