Vice-President Saulos Chilima has challenged chief executive officers (CEOs) from both public and private sectors to abandon self-interest and make sacrifices during hard times.
The Vice-President said this when he addressed a CEOs Summit at the Bingu International Convention Centre in Lilongwe held under the theme: “Transcending the turbulence through private sector-led growth.”
Said Chilima:“True leaders make sacrifices and forego things employees don’t, shouldn’t, or wouldn’t. I have seen great leaders make many sacrifices over my career.
“I have also seen leaders refuse to give up things that the mantle of great
leadership demands they give up. Dismissing such sacrifices often negatively affected their careers.”
The Veep, who is also Minister of Economic Planning and Development; and Public Sector Reforms, quoted Scot Mautz, author of a book called Find the Fire who is on record as having said: “Leadership is about what you give up, not what you take in.”
Providing his own personal sacrifice as an example, Chilima, who served as Airtel Malawi managing director before joining frontline politics in 2014, explained that under the laws of Malawi, a Vice-President is entitled to a paid up annual holiday anywhere abroad while accessing all the privileges under the Presidential Benefits Act.
“But how would it look if a Vice-President was to fully utilise this benefit and decide to go on a holiday at this crucial period when our economy is ailing?” he queried.
In the same spirit, Chilima said it would be naïve for a CEO of an ailing parastatal or company to keep on getting all the benefits while also driving poshy cars or “fuel guzzler vehicle.”
On another note, the Veep also challenged the private sector to create more jobs if the country is to grow its tax revenue base.
Malawi’s tax to gross domestic product ratio is currently one of the lowest in the region at 14.5 percent,below the sub-Saharan region average of 16.5 percent.
He also assured the private sector that government will continue to safeguard their working environment as one way of boosting the domestic economy as provided by the Malawi 2063.
Making his presentation titled The Art of the Possible, Standard Bank (Malawi) plc CEO Phillip Madinga, who has mostly worked in the banking in the past 27 years, said the private sector cannot be mere spectators in matters of national development.
Quoting a former prime minister of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew, he said: “A nation is great not by size alone.
“It is the will, the cohesion, the stamina, the discipline of the people and the quality of their leaders which ensure it an honourable place in history.”
Other notable faces who attended the summit included the Anti-Corruption Bureau director general Martha Chizuma and National Planning Commission director general Thomas Chataghalala Muthali, among others.