It has emerged that government’s allocation for recruitment in the proposed 2016/17 National Budget is three times less than the human resource requirements in the public service.
In the proposed budget Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe tabled in Parliament last Friday, government has allocated K5.7 billion (about $8.3million) as the ceiling for recruitment in the civil service.
However, with six ministries having submitted their needs to date, the figure has shot to K20.26 billion (about $29.4million), almost three times the ceiling.
Speaking during a budget cluster meeting for members of Parliament (MPs) in Lilongwe yesterday, Department of Human Resources Management and Development deputy director of management services Mike Majabula confirmed that the amount is less than the demand on the ground.
He said: “You see, with the huge vacancies in the ministries, government will not be able to pay the huge number of civil servants if we are to honour all these.
“Without doubt, there are vacancies, but government cannot concentrate on just paying civil servants. It needs to concentrate on other services as well.”
According to Majabula, there is a possibility that some ministries will not recruit given the tight budget allocation.
The development comes against a government freeze on civil service recruitment.
Ministry of Finance budget director Chauncy Simwaka said the freeze is still in force, but added that requests from ministries such as Health are given special treatment.
He said: “Of course, there are chances of having so many ministries wanting to recruit, but whatever the case, that is the ceiling. But for ministries like Health, they have been given an opportunity to recruit.”
Reacting to the development, Parliamentary Committee on Health chairperson Juliana Lunguzi said there was need to fill the vacancies in the civil service. She, however, acknowledged that funding is a problem.
“It is obvious there is a problem given the ailing economy, but we need to be prudent and communicate to our students in colleges especially in the health sector that they will not be automatically recruited once they finish their studies,” she said.
The number of vacancies is expected to rise even higher if requests from Ministry of Health and Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development—which are among those with the biggest workforce alongside Ministry of Education, Science and Technology—are included.