The reform areas the Malawi government has assigned to its Ministry of Homeland Security have potential to enable the ministry to contribute to revenue generation while also improving its own service delivery, Vice President Saulos Klaus Chilima has said.
Chilima, who is also Minister of Economic Planning and Development and Public Sector Reforms, made the remarks in Lilongwe on Wednesday during his interface meetings with the Minister of Homeland Security Richard Chimwendo Banda.
Apart from Chimwendo Banda, the Vice President also held meetings with the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Lingson Belekanyama, and the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Titus Mvalo on the progress of reforms and proposed new areas of reform in their ministries.
Chilima said he had observed that some departments in the Ministry of Homeland Security have excellent reform areas that could contribute to revenue generation while also improving service delivery.
He cited plans by the Malawi Police Service to establish a commercial driving school, which, he noted, will generate revenue as well as contribute to road safety by training responsible drivers.
“Meanwhile, the Malawi Prison Service’s agriculture programme is feeding over 13, 000 inmates for five months and has the capacity to generate income if well supported. We will step in to enhance this initiative so that in the long run prisons will be able to feed themselves without always relying on Treasury,” he assured.
Chilima told Nyasa Times afterwards that during the meetings, he also emphasized that at the heart of reforms in the police service should be to rebuild confidence and mend relations with the public to gain the lost trust from the citizenry.
“I also emphasized that the administration of His Excellency Dr. Lazarus Chakwera is committed to construct houses for security officers and that works must start as soon as possible. As a way forward, I will continue discussions with the Department of Immigration on passports, Malawi Police Services on several security issues as well as with the National Registration Bureau that require serious attention,” said Chilima.
On the other hand, the Vice President said it was encouraging to note that apart from improving service delivery, the reforms that the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development is embarking on also aim to eliminate dual administration, but also improve efficient and effective management of payroll as well as achieve improved human resource processes at council level.
Chilima said these prospective outcomes auger well with the ministry’s mandate to promote local governance and coordinate development interventions at local councils.
However, the Vice President suggested that the ministry should consider reviewing the honoraria given to traditional leaders.
“I maintain my stand that it is an insult to pay someone K2, 500 or K5,000. Moreover, they have to travel long distances to access that money from the banks. On the overall status of decentralizing some functions from Capital Hill to local councils, the ministry complained that some ministries – 22 years after the decision to decentralize was made –are still resisting especially those handling various multi-million kwacha projects in councils. I have requested a list of such ministries so that we should have a serious discussion with them. As a country, we should be able to move on once we make decisions,” said Chilima.
“Going forward, we will have a roadmap with the ministry so that we are able to track progress on what is being achieved especially on empowering local councils so that they are able to champion development projects at district levels,” he said.
Meanwhile, Chilima has called for the speedy revitalization of the Malawi Business Registration System.
Speaking when he met the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Mvalo and his team, the Vice President is a crucial component in not only driving economic growth of the country, but also aid in investigation and prosecution of corruption and money laundering cases.
“This system must be revitalised as soon as possible. I fully support the reform to create an autonomous Registrar General. Having its own building will also go a long way in freeing up resources used on rentals. I will be happy to re-engage the ministry on bills that they would like to present to the cabinet. Of special interest to me is the Public Service Bill which must go back to Parliament. It is an important bill that will revolutionise the public service and make it competitive,” he said.
“However, it is sad to note that the ministry continues to suffer from a high retention rate of staff. I have asked the ministry to consider innovative ways of retaining lawyers so that the belief that the government does not defend or appeal cases should be a thing of the past,” added Chilima.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :