The United States of America (USA) has said there is more that needs to be done to ensure public reforms are practical and not mere rhetoric.
“Malawi is at a critical juncture,” noted US Ambassador Virginia Palmer during a reception she hosted in Lilongwe to commemorate her country’s independence on July 4.
“There needs to be, as the President and Vice President have said, a change in mind set, so that the government serves its people, stays within its budget, and delivers the prosperity Malawians so richly deserve,” she said.
The American envoy said Malawi Government needs to do more to speed up the reforms processes.
“It’s now about delivering on that promise. If changes aren’t fully implemented; unless there is a radical overhaul of thinking, attitude and delivery; unless there is greater budgetary discipline and financial oversight not just at the national but also at the district level; Malawi will keep reeling from crises, whether caused by climate change or illegal deforestation or corruption. We will be assisting with flood relief when we should be celebrating record breaking exports,” she said.
The Public Service Reforms Commission is chaired by Vice-President Saulos Chilima and has since set targets for several ministries.
Palmer also bemoaned the slow progress of Cashgate cases and further investigations.
She said: “We look at the parliamentary order paper and ask: Where are the new laws that show government’s promise of ‘never again’ is a serious one? We look at the flat budgets of accountability institutions and ask whether the pursuit of past and present corruption is really being intensified.
“Where are the seized assets? What are the consequences of bad audits? Who is getting fired?”
Palmer said civil society organisations (CSOs), the public and the media ought to speak about reforms: “What does it mean in your rural clinic, at your office, for getting your business started?”
Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation George Chaponda, who was the guest of honour during the USA’s 239th independence anniversary commemoration, said Malawi government is “very determined” to promote good governance, in the areas of fiscal and monetary discipline, and accountability.
“We, also continue to fight all forms of corruption. Our objective is to create an enabling environment, which will, in turn, help us further promote investment by both local and foreign entrepreneurs,” said Chaponda.
Chaponda said under the leadership Mutharika, Malawi will be transformed “from being a predominantly importing and consuming country, to a producing and exporting country.”
He expressed gratitude to United States of America for the continued assistance that has been rendered to Malawi in various sectors, such as governance, capacity building, peace and security.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :