A public relations (PR) crisis in government ministries was among top agenda for a Cabinet meeting on September 4 where the it was observed that government initiatives are not receiving adequate publicity.
According to a September 5, 2012 memorandum from the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC), Cabinet has since directed that all ministries should recruit public relations officers (PROs) â€œto be responsible for publicising achievements of respective ministries though the media.â€
Clerk to Cabinet Clement Chinthu-Phiri said the idea was mooted out of a need to create a central point in the dissemination of information in the public service.
â€œNot everybody of us should be speaking. Each one of us is assigned own jobs,â€ he said.
Treasury secretary Mwadiwa agreed that there has been a PR crisis in the way information has been disseminated where, ministers and their officials have contradicted at times.
â€œNormally, there is a crisis. At times, it is a minister speaking; at times it is the Principal Secretary. This brings confusion. This will be a way to bring order and a way to facilitate access to information. We need to be pro-active than always waiting for a journalist to call,â€ said Mwadiwa.
However, Weekend Nation has established that there is no PRO position in the government establishment and may not be established immediately because the current budget does not provide for their salaries.
In an interview, Secretary for the Department of Human Resource Management (DHRM) Sam Madula confirmed this, saying his department is also waiting for direction as to what grade the PROs will be and their salaries rate.
â€œThe other issue is that these positions are not provided for in the budget, meaning that until mid-term review, we may only have interim PROs in the mean time,â€ said Madula.
Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) Malawi chairperson Anthony Kasunda said recruiting PROs will facilitate access to information.Â