CSTU denounces control expenditure: ‘Move to demotivate Malawi civil servants’

Civil Servants Trade Union (CSTU) said government seems not to know what it is doing as it tries to put its house inorder after infamous cash-gate scandal.

Government announced Tuesday that it has instituted at least 19 financial control expenditure measures in the wake of aid freeze following the Capital Hill plunder.

In a 13-paged circular from the Chief Secretary to the Government, Hawa Ndilowe, sent to all controlling officers and heads of departments, all Chief Executive Officers of parastatals and heads of subvented organisations; government has warned that failure to comply with the set measures would lead to disciplinary action.

The measures include suspension of internal and government funded external travels except where the travel is deemed “very critical” and “absolutely essential”.

Kamphinda: To demotivate public servants

But according to a statement signed by the union’s president Eliah Kamphinda Banda , the largest labour union criticised  government measures on  control expenditure, arguing it is a move to demotivated civil servants and deny Malawians their right to quality service as  controlling officers  plan to enrich themselves in the next financial year.

“By restricting internal travel, government compromises services to local citizens as there will be no supervisory visits. For example, District Health Management teams will find it difficult to supervise health clinics under their charge. Malawi depends on Agriculture, now the Agricultural Development Division Managers (ADDs) will not be able to  supervise the District Agricultural Officer under them. This is very dangerous to our ailing economy.

“The rethinking of transferring government vehicles to PVHO without building capacity at PVHO and instantly redeploying lorries and mini buses to the same institution is an indirect way of saying that government doesn’t not need the drivers on its pay roll. If it is like that, why can’t government just diplomatically tell its drivers to
retire voluntarily?

“It is saddening that government is planning to introduce Motor Vehicle Purchase Scheme for Public servants of grade P2 and above. This is total selfish. Why is it that government always wants PSs and directors to be treated in a special way? The same cadre benefitted from the Camrys bought in early 2000 and Peugeots bought towards mid
2000,” reads the statement.

Kamphinda said government should never think civil servants are dump.

“Innocent civil servants cannot suffer just for the sake of the few who looted public funds. Government must remember that as a union we advised them that money was being looted through IFMIS during negotiations. Innocent civil servants must not suffer for careless management of resources by a few individuals.

“We know who are involved in the cash gate scandal as the names have been circulated by the media. Why punish us the innocent civil servants??  We were looking for a control measure that would stipulate how the culprit will be dealt with where they have been found guilty or not. Again, we were looking at how the innocent civil servants would be motivated,” he said.

Government has also put restrictions on recruitment, use of water in government offices and that all offices should install pre-paid utility meters for electricity and telephone.

All meetings, workshops and seminars are to be held in the city, district or area where the majority of participants reside, and where possible, in institutional venues, conference rooms or halls.

“Officers shall not be paid for performing duties such as workshop facilitation and paper presentation for which they receive salary,” reads the nineteenth point of the Expenditure Control Measures.

On Accounting Control Measures, government has directed that all government procurement should be on cash basis and that accumulation of arrears would not be entertained.

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