The ‘business unusual’ approach currently being championed in the country by Vice President Saulos Chilima through the Public Reforms Programme should brace for more tough times before it bears fruits if what happened in Lilongwe today is anything to go by.
UNICEF Malawi, in collaboration with government, were on Wednesday launching two reports on the situation of children that have implications for the future of Malawi’s children at the Golden Peacock Hotel in the capital, but key ministries and government departments did not turn up for the event.
The reports include the first ever Malawi Child Poverty Report and the UNICEF Flag ship report the State of the World’s Children 2016.
The attitude shown by the ministries towards the event clearly angered the Secretary to the Treasury Ronald Mangani who could not hide his disappointment during his keynote address at the function.
Mangani said, “I don’t know what happened but I am very disappointed. I mean a function of such magnitude can’t just have a handful guests. It’s a landmark for this country and yet other key personnel are not present. What’s wrong with us?”
Ministries who either absconded or sent junior staff to the launch include Ministries of Education, Agriculture, Youth and Sports, Labour, Health and that of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare.
Ironically, they all participated in the production of the report; according to the Department of Economic Planning and Development.
The National Statistical Office (NSO) and the Ministry of Information were the only ones that sent their senior officials as demanded on the invitations sent.
In an interview, Mangani said he was not interested in propagating a blame game over the issue.
“But I hope you agree with me that I raised a genuine concern in there [conference room], he said before adding, “This is not on and for sure, we can do better as a country,” he said.
Coordinator at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning Jimmy Kawaye confirmed his office sent out the invitations to all relevant stakeholders.
“We actually were making some follow-ups with them even as late as yesterday [Tuesday]. All invitations were followed up by phone calls. We received no apologies to that end.” Kawaye explained.
“As regards to the poor participation, I do agree with the ST [Secretary to Treasury] that it is sad and unfortunate. However, I would suspect the previous postponements of the launch may have significantly contributed to this status,” Kawaye said.