Government says it has finalised paperwork to facilitate the devolution and decentralisation of payment of salaries for the whole civil service to local authorities.
Following this development, Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development says it will be transferring its powers and responsibilities of processing civil servants’ salaries to the district and local councils by September 1 2016.
The ministry’s Principal Secretary (PS) Stuart Ligomeka made the remarks in Lilongwe on the sidelines of activities to mark this year’s African Day on Decentralisation and Local Government.
He said this is in line with the Decentralisation Policy of 1998, which calls for government’s commitment to devolve some of its powers to the local authorities.
He explained: “Councils have been preparing their salaries all along. Each sector at district level has an accounting department. There are those departments, which have been preparing salaries for people within the council.
“When salaries were prepared, they [council officials] were travelling all the way to Lilongwe to process them. Now what we are saying is that they shouldn’t travel all the way to Lilongwe; let them process these salaries whilst at the council.”
But Ligomeka emphasised that the devolution of the payment system will be done in phases, as government is yet to procure additional equipment such as computers and software.
He said five posts have since been created in Mzimba, Mulanje, Lilongwe and Kasungu, among others, where several councils will be going to process their salaries.
He said after installing payment systems in the selected councils in September, government will mobilise additional resources from the Government of Ireland to enable it procure equipment for the remaining councils.
Asked whether councils have adequate capacity to carry out these responsibilities, Ligomeka said “government has already built the capacity of the councils to enable them carry out these functions.”
He further said the system will help reduce cases of delayed salaries in the civil service.
“For your own information, all the teachers are being paid from councils. It’s been two years now.
“Central Government will continue to provide for these salaries. Only that preparation of salaries will be done at the councils,” he explained. n