The number of principal secretaries (PSs) in the public service continue to decrease following the early retirement of two more controlling officers, it has been established.
The officers are Patrick Kabambe, who is PS for Labour, Youth and Manpower Development and Sandram the Department of Water and Irrigation.Maweru who is chief director in Department of Human Resource Management and Development PS (Human Resources) Blessings Chilabade confirmed in an interview yesterday that Kabambe had opted for voluntary early retirement effective August 1 2016.
He said under the same arrangement, Maweru will retire effective September 1 2016.
The duo follows in the footsteps of career PS Radson Mwadiwa who until his retirement last month was chief director in Performance Enforcement Department in the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC).
Chilabade said the developments are part of normal retirement which allows one to voluntarily retire after serving for at least 20 years. There is also mandatory retirement upon one attaining the age of 60, he said, adding that there is no special package and benefits are based on salary at retirement date.
The development further reduces the number of PSs who at one point were 96, including heads of constitutional bodies. However, the number was trimmed further when PS 2 positions were abolished to become Chief Directors as one way of instilling efficiency in administrative and financial management of ministries and departments.
The Nation has learnt that about 10 PSs are expected to retire by 2017 which will reduce the number further if the hire freeze imposed by Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe is adhered to strictly.
In December 2014, there were 96 PSs before some were demoted. Prior to the retirement of the trio, the public service had 35 PSs and the number is expected to shrink further to 23 by 2017, according to the reforms plan.
Before his Ministry of Labour, Youth and Manpower Development portfolio, Kabambe served as PS in the Ministry
International Cooperation between 2010 and 2013.of Foreign Affairs and
OPC has also signed a new contract with Francis Chinsinga, who was a chief director, on a two-year contract to oversee roll-out of National Identity Card project under the National Registration Bureau.
There are 34 PSs, four of whom are on two-year contracts ending in 2017 while two, including Secretary to the Treasury Ronald Mangani are on secondment. Mangani is an employee of the University of Malawi (Unima).
Information The Nation has seen indicates that Kester Kaphaizi, PS for Natural Resources, Energy and Mining is due to retire in October after serving since 1980 while Dr Macphail Magwira, PS for Health is due for retirement next month.
About five PSs on permanent contracts would retire in 2017, among them PS for Transport and public Infrastructure Moffat Chitimbe, PS for Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare Mary Shawa, PS for Education, Science and Technology Lonely Magareta, PS for Statutory Corporations Deverias Zangazanga Chikhosi, PS for Defence Paul Chiunguzeni and PS in the Government Contracting Unit Mansfield Mpeta Phiri.
The bloated number of PSs has been cited as the cause for public service inefficiencies while draining public coffers.
Said Chilabade: “This is part of normal retirement which has in two parts: Voluntary after serving for at least 20 years and an officer opts to retire and mandatory where an officer is required to retire after reaching the age of 60. No special package and benefits are based on salary at retirement date.”