M alawi has officially commissioned the devolution of payment of salaries for the civil service, a development that is expected to help harmonise human resource practices such as conditions of service, performance management, human resource planning and development.
The commissioning entails that all central ministries that have devolved functions and responsibilities to the councils have also devolved corresponding human resources functions to district councils where district commissioners (DCs) are controlling officers.
Speaking in Mulanje district when he commissioned the devolution process yesterday, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Kondwani Nankhumwa said the process has huge benefits which include each council being able to control and regulate its number of employees and the ability of each council to monitor its monthly wage bill fluctuations.
He said other benefits include reduction in incidences of ghost workers, elimination of employees’ dual reporting lines to councils and line ministries and conflict of interest and enhancement of decision-making on human resource issues such as handling of disciplinary cases, among others.
“I would like to appeal to all key players, including the 16 devolved sectors, particularly the large sectors of education, health and agriculture, all sectoral employees at council level and all councillors, especially members of the Human Resource Committee, to provide the necessary support in this important government reform area,” added Nankhumwa.
According to Nankhumwa, the “first and historic” payroll production at the district council level in the November 2016 salary processing cycle started with Mulanje server site which caters for Mulanje, Thyolo, Chiradzulu and Phalombe district councils.
This will be followed by the remaining four server sites in Zomba, Blantyre, Kasungu and Mzuzu which will cater for their respective surrounding district councils.
In his remarks, Malawi Local Government Association (Malga) president Samson Chaziya expressed delight at the commissioning of the devolution process, saying it will go a long way in pushing councils to work seriously and efficiently to deliver.
As part of the commissioning process, there was also handover of council establishment from central government to local government. The handover was done by Deputy Chief Secretary (now Chief Secretary) Lloyd Muhara to chairperson of Local Government Service Commission, Sophie Kalimba.
The decentralisation and devolution of payment of salaries for the whole civil service to local authorities is in line with the Decentralisation Policy of 1998, which calls for government’s commitment to devolve some of its powers to local authorities. n