By Enelless Nyale, Malawi Nations Publication Reporter
The Chief Secretary to the government Lloyd Muhara says the public should expect a vastly improved performance in the public sector, following the launch of the Public Service Management and the National Public Sector Reforms policies.
Speaking during the official launch of the two policies at Bingu International Convention Centre in Lilongwe yesterday, Muhara said the two polices were formed to transform the public service in line with Malawi Growth and Development Strategy 3 (MDGS3).
He said: “Today is a special day where we have launched and adopted the two important policies that have been developed with the objective of transforming the Malawi public service.
“The main key issues that need to be adhered to are service delivery, excellent service delivery, accountability and transparency, We expect the public to read the policies and hold us accountable if we haven’t fulfilled what is in the policies.”
Muhara further said that since the current Malawi Public Sector Reforms’ journey began on 11thFebruary 2015, government has been implementing some key programmes in order to enhance and foster a new governance arrangement that will raise standards of performance of the Malawi public service and endure delivery of quality public goods and services to the citizenry.
He, however, refused to respond to a question from The Nation newspaper after the launch on why there appears to be no action against officers who have been involved in the mismanagement of public resources.
The question was based on recent audit reports which consistently query a lack of adherence by controlling officers to the Public Finance Management Act. In he reports, the Auditor General has shown that there is a lack of seriousness among the staff who fail to account for key audit documents, including financial statements.
According to the National Public-Sector Reforms Policy, the performance of the public service has been deteriorating over time.
“Some of the factors that have contributed to poor performance are low morale and productivity of civil servants, inadequate implementation of policies and programmes, inadequate collaboration among public sector institutions and non-state actors, poor public sector governance, misallocation and misappropriation of resources in the public service and a negative mindset that undermines the ability of public servants to be fully committed to public service,” reads part of the policy.
It further says that the civil service has a number of non-core staff, including administrative and support staff, and it is not clear whether all of them are required. It also wonders whether all the employees in the civil service are optimally utilised to contribute to the strategic results of MDAs.
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Deputy Resident Representative, Claire Medina commended the government for the policies launched, saying the donor community expects the government to put the words into action if the civil service is to be transformed.
“This is a good initiative worth commending. We hope to see a robust civil service and that things will change,” she stressed.
During the launch, government has also decorated the best performers in the public service in three categories, thus ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), institutional bodies and parastatals.
The Ministry of Transport and Public Works emerged the best performer, followed by the National Audit Office in the category of MDAs. The National Assembly was the best, followed by Ombudsman, in the category of institutional bodies, while the Competition and Fair Trading Commission emerged winner in the parastatals’ category.