Malawi Vice President Saulos Chilima on Tuesday engaged the private sector in the commercial capital Blantyre in a frank and straight talk approach as one way of soliciting feedback from the captains of the industry on the public service reforms which he is steering.
Chilima assured the private sector that the current efforts to reform the public sector will bear fruits despite several attempts to do so in the past, citing “overflow of political will” this time from the government and President Arthur Peter Mutharika.
The veep and the commissioners engaged the private sector through the Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) to get feedback on the reforms that the commission announced in December 2014.
“Not changing is not an option. There is clear indication that people want change in the public service. For example we are receiving radical feedback from people out there…like some wanting to have only 18 Principal Secretaries not the 40 we are proposing because we have 18 ministries. This tells us that people out there want change and this is encouraging,” said Chilima.
At the meeting, the Vice President stood for 45 minutes making a power point presentation to the private sector while appealing to them to own the reforms and be part of the process.
“The business of government is not to do business. We want you to come in and own the reforms especially those that are easing the way of doing business. We should not make these reforms a DPP thing but a collective effort with you the private sector being part of it,” he said.
Among other issues, the Vice President spoke of the National Identity scheme which the private sector welcomed, saying it will help the financial sector in identifying customers as well as tracing back those who access loans.
Chilima also shared with the private about the Long Term National Development Plan which will specify the national development agenda so that political parties when they exit and enter government must stick to the plan to ensure continuity.
In his remarks, Chancellor Kaferapanjira of MCCCI hailed the reforms initiative and the strong spirit by the VP and commissioners to ensure delivery this time around.
Kafarapanjira praised the decision to take the private sector on board as well as a number of reforms including the national development plan and the issuance of IDs to Malawians as crucial for the business community.
He however expressed reservations on aligning some offices like the Attorney General to the tenure of the presidency, saying doing so would compromise loyalty and dedication of the appointees.
“Our take is that this will make such positions unstable and loyalty will go to the appointing authority not the people of Malawi,” he said.
The meeting then went into a two hour closed door session where the VP and commissioners further engaged the private sector on a number of concerns and appreciations.
Earlier, Kaferapanjira apologized to the VP on behalf of the business captains who arrived late to the interface. The meeting was scheduled for 8: 30 am, the Vice President arrived at 8: 28 am and waited for close to one hour before everything was set.
The hotel too was caught napping as arrangements had not yet been finalized by 8:30 am.
The Malawi VP is well known for keeping time and has on numerous occasions caused discomfort to organizers after he arrived at the agreed time before they themselves were ready.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :