Contrary to recent observations that the steam on public service reforms was simmering down, it has transpired that much more reforms have taken place in most sectors across the public service.
Addressing a news conference on Wednesday at Capital Hill in Lilongwe, Vice President Saulos Chilima, who is also chair of the Public Service Reforms Commission, highlighted what has been achieved so far and what the g government intends to achieve on public service reforms.
These included the approval by President Peter Mutharika to start implementing reforms in parastatals to make them more viable and contribute effectively to the socio economic development of the country.
Chilima said to ensure that the reform areas which the parastatals themselves identified to make their organisations improve performance, the first step will be to finalise the State Corporation Policy whose absence led to conflicts in mandates of some parastatals.
In the same vein, Chilima said a number of bills including the one on Public Service Appointment will be taken to parliament so that reforms that require legal backing are clearly documented and legalised.
He cited the President’s acceptance to relinquish some of his appointment powers, saying once the bill is passed it will mean that people, like Principal Secretaries, will now be going through a recruitment and interview process.
Chilima disclosed that currently there are 41 Principal Secretaries apart from other Heads of Government Institutions.
He said some Principal Secretaries have retired, some are yet to retire and others have been redeployed.
“In particular, these efforts have seen some ministries which had two or three PS’s now having one. For Instance, Secretary to the Vice President is also Secretary and Commissioner for Department of Disaster Management Affairs. The right sizing process will continue until the intended reform purpose is achieved,” Chilima explained.
Chilima emphasized that the reforms will not fail because the current administration wants the civil service to be effective and modern in running its affairs.
The Vice President bemoaned lack of financial resources in the civil service commission, a problem that persists in every sector of Malawi life.
“These reforms require a hefty financial budget. I am pleased to inform you that we have had a number of meetings with Development Partners who are supporting the reforms,” Chilima stated.
He pointed out Approval of reforms in Parastatals, Decentralisation of Passport printing at the department of Immigration, Decentralisation of Teachers’ salaries, turning Green Belt Initiative into a Holdings Limited Company, Fertilizer Subsidy Programme, Parliamentary Committee on Public Service Reforms and IFMIS Enhancement Upgrade among others as some of the reforms currently taking place.
On teachers, Chilima said the decentralisation of salary payment has made it possible for teachers to receive their pay in time and that soon they will be paid at district level.
“We may even go further to pay them right in their homes through the use of modern technologies like mobile money,” he said.
As another reform success, Chilima also cited the decentralisation of passport printing to Lilongwe and Mzuzu as feat that has helped Malawians to stop travelling long to access passports in Blantyre.
Soon, he said, services of Immigration, Lands, Tax, Business Registration and others will be found in Post Offices in what will be known as service centres.
The Vice President also announced that there will be a commission which will be taking care of national development plans to ensure continuity if there is change of administration.
Chilima also commended the Malawi media for publishing positive stories on reforms saying, “On numerous occasions the media has carried out positive stories about reforms on front page and on the same goodwill they have criticized responsibly. The media is a legitimate stakeholder in reforms hence it will be consulted just like any other stakeholders.”
Meanwhile, President Mutharika has extended to June 2016 the tenure of the commission to give it more time to carry out its duties.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :