Member of Parliament for Lilongwe City Centre, David Bisnowaty, has said there should be a travel sanctions for civil servants in the next six months due to economic challenges and that government should investigate what he calls “travel allowances cashgate”.
In his contribution to the State of the Nation Address presented by President Peter Mutharika last Friday, Bisnowaty said Malawi is spending “unprecedented billions of kwachas” on internal and external travels by our civil servants.
He said: “In my view, we can and must cut or even temporarily abolish these travels altogether. This is one of the keys to turning around our economic situation as fast as possible,” said Bisnowaty, an independent MP.
He told parliament that many civil servants are busy travelling inside and outside Malawi and they are “spending less and less time in the offices performing their duties.”
Said Bisnowaty: “It is a well-known fact that the overall performance of our public servants these days leaves a lot to be desired as compared to the past.”
He continued: “I am aware of several travel bans that various governments put in the past. This started all the way back to President Bakili Muluzi’s UDF-led government and all the subsequent governments. It is most unfortunate that these government instructions on travel ban are widely ignored by these civil servants. Very often, we read about travel allowances that have been claimed for no travel at all.
“There is in fact a travel allowance Cash-gate that we must investigate thoroughly following the travel bans which have been ignored all along in the past years. This way, we would be killing two birds with one stone.”
Bisnowaty also expressed concern that the civil service is not disciplined as it was in the past.
“This lack of discipline persists and is in fact, getting worse. Therefore, there is a definite need to take vigorous action to restore discipline.
“ We need to and must reform the public service because it plays a major role in the much needed revival of our economy,” he said.
He was however quick to point out that “there are many dedicated and hardworking officers in the civil service” but that there are “a few rotten apples”.
Said Bisnowaty: “The ones that are working hard deserve a recommendation and recognizing. The civil service which is blotted by ghost and incompetent workers can and must be trimmed and they must be trimmed now.
“ Once we remove the rotten apples, we should be able to look after and care for the smaller number of dedicated civil servants better. This means improving conditions of civil servants, which in turn, will increase productivity.”
He called for tabling of a motion in parliament to ban all internal and external travel by civil servants, including lakeside seminars.
Bisnowaty also observed that even ‘fully funded’ trips, government tops up with US$50 per day about K28,000 on the funded trip allowance.
“Further, government also continues to pay salaries to officers on the days that they are absent from office.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :