Vice President Saulos Klaus Chilima has expressed worry over the perennial losses the Malawi Posts Corporation (MPC) has been making since it was unbundled from the Malawi Posts and Telecommunications Corporation (MPTC) some 20 years ago.
Chilima made the remarks in Blantyre on Wednesday at the start of his technical meetings with parastatal organizations based in the Southern Region to appreciate the reforms being implemented and the turnaround strategies that we agreed during the last time we engaged them.
The Vice President was scheduled to meet five parastatal organizations today along, starting with MPC, the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) and the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) in the first half of the day.
Chilima said he was pleased to note that there is positivity in approach from management teams in how they are embracing the reforms.
“At this stage, it is the acceptance that is important. As they say, the first stage of healing is to accept that something is wrong and must be corrected,” he said.
“However, it is worrying to note that MPC has not made profits since the unbundling 20 years ago, but instead it has accumulated debts amounting to K1.6 billion in utility bills and statutory obligations as well as K6.3 billion in taxes, MACRA levy and licences.
“On this, I have strongly emphasised that the government will not go into the habit of bailouts of institutions that fail to perform. As a business, they must make money and meet their statutory obligations without fail. An institution that is commercial in nature must make money. And this is what we want to do with MPC,” said Chilima.
He, however, expressed delight that MPC presented an ambitious and exciting turnaround plan that, if well implemented, could change fortunes for the institution that is stuck in perennial losses.
Chilima, who is also Minister of Economic Planning and Development and Public Sector Reforms, said the four key projects in the MPC turnaround strategy, namely cost reduction, postal network restructuring, automating business processes and growing revenue through introduction of post bank and digital finance services is the way to go if MPC is to remain relevant in a digital world.
The country’s second-in-command also observed that MACRA has been embarking on a number of reforms aimed at availing affordable ICT services to the people of Malawi, pointing out that that this far, the progress is commendable in some areas.
These reform areas include dynamic spectrum pricing, introduction of smart cities where service delivery within the city should be e-driven with free Wi-Fi hot spots in designated areas as well as the National Addressing Project which has seen postal codes already gazetted and developed.
“On a new reform area, I strongly suggested that MACRA should have a discussion with MPC over MPC’s 120 post offices across the country that have become non-economic. Through a proper business synergy, these post offices could be turned into MACRA’s tele-centres while keeping some core postal services with MACRA paying for rentals to MPC.
“However, I am appalled with the way MACRA has been operating and conducting itself over the years. I have told the management team that they are a regulator of communications and not politics. I have warned management to immediately de-politicize. I have told them that in this administration of His Excellency Dr. Lazarus Chakwera, they must free themselves from political bondage and work as professionals,” said Chilima.
The Minister of Information, Gospel Kazako, who was part of the meeting as a line Minister for MACRA, also weighed in to rebuke the wastage of financial resources at the institution.
Kazako vowed to move earth and mountain to ensure that MACRA is sanitized through a process that will include replacement of staff who were caught in the web of toxic politics at the expense of serving Malawians.
Vice President Chilima assured that despite these obstacles, the Tonse government is determined to make progress.
“We will deal with anything to make progress in each and every parastatal organization. As a country we must move forward,” he said.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :