Development is something that we cannot go without because it is a need to Malawians. That is why I am commending President Peter Mutharika for giving ultimatums to government ministers to show they are assets in development. But this should also trickle down to the entire Civil Service if we really want to attract foreign investors.
Foreign investors may not be willing to come considering the status of the economy. Nobody would want to invest in a country where business would not work; they need profits.
Malawi needs to convince foreign business communities that the country is worth investing in. This is not a sole responsibility of the State President, but a collective responsibility for all people in different government sectors.
The presidential decision that government ministries should be submitting monthly reports would be a yardstick to measure performance of ministers, who are receiving hefty sums of money in salaries and allowances. They need to know where and how the money they receive is coming from.
The issue of concern is that some ministers and top employees have been lofty since the country ventured into a multiparty democracy. Some had performed very well, but others underperformed miserably simply because they were not given datelines to deliver.
However, there must be another person down supposed to perform to expected standards for a minister to deliver. It is a chain of responsibilities that will make the minister’s work easy. In so doing, the President’s work would be easy too.
Let us reflect on the reasons ministers and government employees fail to deliver.
The hidden problem that is leading to under-performances in government is that ministers and some government employees are not hired on merit. The tendency of putting inefficient people in crucial positions begun some time back.
Most ministers and other employees were appointed because of some affiliations to the appointing authority. It could also be the case now.
The same scenario applies to some organisations. Many officers holding different positions are well backed by people in power. This type of favouritism is killing Malawi as it is not a recipe for development.
This leaves competent people at a disadvantage. Those who can help in development are burdened with unnecessary responsibilities and tasks which cannot matter in development.
We have a challenge that needs intervention from the State President if we are to create a conducive platform for development— by emplyonig only people with potentials, capabilities and skills to help put the country’s economy at the desirable level.
What we need most is advancement in economic development that may come as a result of investment. The more people invest in the country, the more the economy grows. But this will require people who can deliver.
One factor to attract foreign investors apart from a stable economy is a hard working spirit of people since they are a fundamental resource to any business. Government employees should be exemplary because they are on the spotlight to reflect what type of workforce an entire country may have.
Government is a system comprising officers who do complementary work at different levels. There could be no minister if there was no principal secretary (PS); there could be no PS if there was no director; there could be no director if there were no other senior officers who also need junior officers.
All these people matter in government and there is no one who can work as an island. The President should depend on the minister; the minister should rely on the PS; the PS should lean on the director and the director should depend on officers below him or her.
For this to happen, government must consider appraising not only departmental ministers, but all people who are government employees to maximise efficiency for the goodness of development.
Malawi will still have the same problem if the current administration cannot trace a competent government workforce to work according to its expectations. Let government flash out nepotism and engage efficient people who can woe foreign investors to plant their businesses in the country.