To stop public resource wastage through the culture of allowances, new Secretary to the President and Cabinet (SPC) Colleen Zamba has suspended external meetings for government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) until further notice.
Her action as a new broom that sweeps clean has earned her praise from experts, who have since called on President Lazarus Chakwera to lead by example by suspending his travels.
Speaking in Lilongwe yesterday after meeting principal secretaries (PSs), Zamba said following the measures the President announced last week, all public office meetings must be held in board rooms.
She said: “One of the important aspects in the civil service is the optimal use of human and financial resources. So, we have issued circulars on the new measures, explaining them to the PSs and as the President announced, more will be coming.
“We have immediately suspended holding of meetings outside duty stations. For example, Lilongwe is a duty station, so no need to go to Mponela, or Salima. Why should an internal procurement and disposal committee go to Salima just to review contracts?”
Zamba said even the Commonwealth funded meeting of PSs scheduled for Salima, has been shifted to Lilongwe.
The SPC said the measures have been introduced to tame waste because people in the public sector largely use activities to benefit financially.
Zamba said government will soon introduce awards for best performing civil servants, including a proposal to award best performing PSs.
She said PSs are the first-line management team of the civil service and the meeting was the first layer of engagements to implement the agenda of government.
Chakwera appointed Zamba as SPC on May 22 2022, after firing Zanga-Zanga Chikhosi.
In an interview, Secretary to Treasury MacDonald Mafuta Mwale welcomed the measures, saying they will help to prudently implement the national budget.
Meanwhile, Centre for Social Accountability and Transparency executive director Willy Kambwandira has described the measures as a move in the right direction.
In an interview yesterday, he said it will be unfair to the civil servants and people who will lose business to hear that someone somewhere along the hierarchy has squandered the saved resources.
“We expect similar orders to be directed to where taxpayers’ money is wated,” he said.