Trimming Malawi cabinet not a solution – Kamlepo

While there have been calls from various stakeholders urging Malawi leader Mrs. Joyce Banda to trim the size of her cabinet, opposition leader Kamlepo Kalua says such a move would not bring answers to the country’s problems.

Kalua told Nyasa Times  that trimming the current cabinet and twining ministries, as others are suggesting, would have serious ramifications on service delivery.

He further added that crucial to the issue of merging ministries would be the lack of progress on some of the development programmes some of the ministries are overseeing.

There have been widespread rumors that some key ministries like Finance would be combined with Economic Planning while Agriculture will be merged with Walter development and Irrigation.

Kalua: Reducing the size of cabinet will not be an immediate solution

But Kalua has called on the President not to take heed of such calls saying the mentioned ministries are the hub of economic growth hence the need not to get rid of them.

“Finance ministry is responsible for application of the budget and also safeguards exchange controls together with the central bank while the EP&D is solely for planning and monitoring purposes. Now combining these two ministries and in a long term it would be disastrous as the country will have no proper guideline for development.

“The same applies to Agriculture and Water development ministries; they are supposed to be independent ministries because their roles are totally different.

“ So to me twining the professional ministries is not good for our small economy that requires well coordinated strategies in order to register growth and I’m sorry to say that trimming the cabinet is to me not a viable option,” explained Kalua.

He also added that politically, the Banda cabinet is representing national unity following the demise of former president Bingu wa Mutharika.

“The mistake those calling for the downsize of the cabinet are making is that they are speaking as if the current cabinet is based on an election forgetting that it was put in place with the aim of uniting Malawians, can we really abandon that cause?” asked Kalua

Added he: “It does not make sense to me to get rid of other ministries because even if we do that the government will not be able to accumulate enough savings from the fired ministers’ salaries and allowances, the amount is just too small compared to the role the ministries play in national development.”

However, Kalua who is emerging as one of the strong backers for the Banda administration said he is supporting the idea of putting in place stringent measures to control public expenditure.

“Government needs to control its expenditure we can’t afford business as usual instead let the administration learn to live within its means. Unnecessary trips by government officials have to be put in check, this coupled by the economic recovery plan will necessitate economic growth in Malawi,” added Kalua.

There have been instances in previous administrations of Bakili Muluzi and Mutharika where ministries like EP&D and Finance were headed by one minister but technocrats said such a move was suicidal in terms of for effective monitoring of the country’s economic performance as the ministry became too big to manage.

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