Radical changes are expected in the public sector management of procurement, allowances and employment as a task force led by Vice-President Saulos Chil ima has completed an expedited civil service review process.
The task force, which was hired by President Lazarus Chakwera in February this year amid revelations of continued massive abuse of public resources including the K6.2 billion allocated to the country’s Covid-19 response, is due to deliver its report on Friday.
The President said he was hiring the task force to review the system of allowances, procurement, employment contracts as well as conditions of service and recruitment of the public service.
According to a statement issued yesterday by the Vice- President’s spokesperson Pilirani Phiri , the presentation of the report will be at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe at a ceremony to start from 9.30AM.
Reads the statement: “A 14-member task force was announced on February 19 2021 and subsequently held its first meeting on February 25 2021. The task force completed its work and will on Friday May 21 2021 present the recommendations report to His Excellency the President.”
The members of the task force who included eminent scholars, governance experts, members of the public, lawyers and technocrats from the government included Professor Ronald Mangani, Professor Nyovasi Madise, Dr Aubrey Mvula, Dr Henry Chingaipe, Dr Steven Matenje, Waki Mushani, John Suzi Banda, Reverend Elsie Tembo, Tione Chilambe, Zunzo Mitole and Nwazi Nthambala.
The task force’s first meeting on February 25 mapped out the modus operandi, including an action plan with clear timelines. It was supported by technocrats from Office of the President and Cabinet, the Public Sector Reforms, the Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Finance.
On March 2 2021, the task force invited the public to submit views and proposals on the three government systems. The views were solicited through scheduled meetings with various stakeholders but also using social media platforms.
Chakwera ordered the formation of the task force in February in a speech which focused on the Covid-19 funds debacle, saying there was a need for the country to tackle the overarching problem of wastage and corruption in the civil service.
He said: “We all know that the rot we have all expressed outrage about goes deeper than Covid-19 funds. If we are going to root out the problem of waste, abuse, and theft of public resources, we must admit that these are behaviours that poisoned our values as a nation and have corroded our entire government system…
“The three government systems through which this behaviour is perpetuated are the systems of allowances, the system of procurement, and the system of civil servants employment contracts. These systems are used by system insiders to loot with impunity.”
Previously, Chilima, who is also Minister of Economic Planning and Public Sector Reforms, hailed progress that the task force made in a video recording released by his office following a meeting by the task force.
Government was at some point reportedly losing over 40 percent of the national budget to corruption while a great deal of funds are also spent on overpriced or poorly paid contracts, lawsuits emanating from such contracts or employment disagreements.