Government on Friday announced the appointment of a special task force to comprehensively review systems of allowances, procurement and employment contracts which have over the years been conduits of looting public funds.
The 14-member Civil Service Comprehensive Review Task Force, to be led by Vice-President Saulos Chilima, who is also Minister responsible for Economic Planning and Development and Public Sector Reforms, comprises different professionals such as academicians and lawyers.
The appointment follows President Lazarus Chakwera’s directive during his last Sunday weekly national address that Chilima must form and lead a special task force to carry out the assignment.
In a statement issued on Friday by the Office of the Vice-President, the special task force has been given 90 days to submit its recommendations to Chakwerathe President.
“The task force will hold its first meeting on Thursday, February 25 2021 to agree on the modus operandi, including an action plan with clear timelines,” reads the statement signed by Chilima’s press officer Pilirani Phiri.
Commenting on the appointment, Catholic Commission for Justice Peace (CCJP) national coordinator Boniface Chibwana described the composition as “well represented”.
“It is also exciting to note that the special task force has experienced and highly qualified persons from the non-State sector/civil society,” he said.
However, Chibwana said there was need for the task force to “adequately, widely and meaningfully consult” with the wider public because the public service reform exercises that have been implemented in the country over the years left out citizen voices.
“Thus, without social accountability, any reform activity in the public service remains a pipe dream,” he said.
On his part, political and social commentator Humphreys Mvula also said the team brings hopes that it will deliver the demands because so far the Vice-President has been seen to be an “action-oriented person”.
“But they need to work objectively and also look at best practices in other countries. It should not just be a desk exercise, but an objective assignment,” he said.
Some of the members in the team are former secretary to Treasury Professor Ronald Mangani, professors Nyovani Madise, Ngeyi Kanyongolo, Wiseman Chijere Chirwa, Dr. Henry Chingaipe, private practice lawyer John Suzi Banda and former principal secretary in the Office of the Vice-President responsible for Public Sector Reforms Management Nwazi Mnthambala.