In its history, Malawi has made a record 80 attempts to reform and revamp the public service to achieve efficiency.
Given this background, many Malawians were sceptical when President Peter Mutharika and his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration, upon assuming power after their triumph in the May 20 2014 Tripartite Elections, embarked on the reforms path last year.
Mutharika appointed Vice-President Saulos Chilima as chairperson of the newly established Public Service Reforms Commission (PSRC). The commission’s membership comprises professionals from the public and private sectors.
One year later, PSRC has received an extension of its mandate to facilitate the creation of an effective and efficient public service that would spur economic growth and facilitate long-term investments in health, education and the economy.
To set the reforms into motion, Cabinet ministers and controlling officers of the pioneer ministries and government departments signed performance contracts with the President outlining the reform areas they would undertake and the period of implementation.
The initial contracts will run until December 2015 during which ministers and controlling officers are expected to prepare and submit quarterly performance and annual performance reports.
In addition to the ministers who signed contracts in February, the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development and Ministry of Industry and Trade prepared their performance agreements and, according to Chilima, they would sign them soon.