Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Ben Phiri has challenged district commissioners and chief executive officers of town, district and city councils to be vigilant and think outside the box to develop their councils.
The minister said this at Malawi Institute of Management (MIM) in Lilongwe on Monday when he opened a three-week management training for council controlling officers.
He said the officers’ conduct will determine the councils’ performance.
Said Phiri: “This is an important training as you are aware that change needs to come in the system. That is why you have to think outside the box and move away from the thinking we had 15 years ago. Let’s do things differently.”
He has since told the controlling officers to always have a positive attitude if change is to be achieved.
On his part, MIM chief management development consultant Dennis Msakwiza said the training will help councils handle problems that currently define financial management and public resources disposal which has contributed to many audit queries in local councils.
He said: “This training has been drafted in a way that we would like to induct the DCs and CEOs in administration.
“Where they need to know their role as controlling officers in decentralisation era and also to assist control of resources in the councils and how they can approach governance issues and trainings of staff.”
About K5.9 billion is feared missing or stolen in local councils in the fiscal year ending June 30 2018, calculations from a National Audit Office (NAO) Compliance Audit of Local Councils report shows.
The NAO report for city and district councils found 13 major loopholes through which billions of taxpayers’ money may have been wasted including councils failure to comply with various financial laws, regulations and procedures.