Vice-President Saulos Chilima yesterday officially handed over the chairmanship for the Public Service Reforms Commission, which he had held for two-and-a-half years, to the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC).
The event, at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe, was formalised after President Peter Mutharika, who had appointed Chilima to lead the reforms, announced over a month ago that the role would be taken over by OPC. Some observers saw that as Mutharika firing Chilima from heading the reforms commission.
In his speech yesterday, Mutharika said apart from continuing from where the commission has stopped, his office will start implementing the recommendations of the commission.
Turning to Chilima, Mutharika said: “You did a good job. Congratulations! Our next step is that of implementation of the recommendations made by the commission. We are already seeing improved revenue collection innovation in a number of parastatals. I am pleased that ministers have continued to be responsible and accountable to you Malawians.”
Explaining that the development was a norm where commissions are concerned in any country, the President added that under the OPC, the reforms are going to be overlooked by one of the existing commissioners, Seodi White.
United States Ambassador Virginia Palmer, in an interview, expressed contentment over the success of the reforms process so far. However, she has advised that whatever recommendations the commission has made need to be taken seriously.
“This is a process, and not an event, and I am pleased that the President said that it is going to continue. The efficacy of everything that the donors and everyone else do in contributing to the development of this country depends on how effective the civil service becomes. Therefore, the success of the civil service reforms means a lot to many of us,” said Palmer.
In his statement, and without divulging much from the report, Chilima said implementation the recommendations will ensure a smooth continuation of the reformation of the civil service.
“The report we are handing over today also makes recommendations on what ought to be done, so that there is continuity of the reforms process,” the Vice-President said.
During the same event, several ministries signed performance contract agreements against which they are going to be assessed after a prescribed period.
One of the ministries is that of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, which was represented by Mutharika, himself, after its recent-past minister George Chaponda got relieved of his duty following his entanglement in Malawi’s questionable procurement of maize from Zambia recently.
The others are those of Education, Science and Technology, Transport and Public Works and of Gender, Children and Community Development and Defence.