‘Leaked’ Chilima’s Public Sector Reform Report Divides Opinion

‘Leaked’ Chilima’s Public Sector Reform Report Divides Opinion

A document purported to be the long-hidden report on the review of public service systems in the country which was instituted by President Lazarus Chakwera in 2021 is circulating on social media and being discussed in the public domain, causing divided opinions.

The document, purportedly put together by a task force led by vice president Saulos Chilima, has among other things, recommended abolition of sitting allowances for MPs and parliament staff, implementation of full board facilities for all local travel and removal of risk allowances for health workers.

The Center for Social Accountability (CSAT) and the Civil Servants Trade Union (CSTU), however, say while some of the reforms are a necessary bitter pill, others are just not practical.

The leaked document which is making rounds on various platforms, including social media, has made scathing observations on public finance wastage and how it can be resolved.

While most members of the taskforce that we spoke to refused to comment on the document on grounds that they took an oath of secrecy, one who has seen and read the report in circulation says the document contains material relating to what was finally submitted to President Chakwera.

Among other things, the report recommends abolishing sitting allowances for MPs and parliament staff, dubbing them double allowances.

It also makes recommendations on public finance management and the under-usage of the Integrated Financial Information Management System (IFIMS).

It notes and bemoans obsession in the public service to prepare payments manually.

Willy Kambwandira, executive director for CSAT, says the ‘leaked’ document has both positive and negative things that need to be seriously discussed.

Kambwandira argues removing sitting allowances for MPs would be difficult considering that the MPs already operate outside their constituencies when parliament meets.

CSTU Secretary General Charles Kumchenga commends the idea to review salaries for civil servants to ensure that they are in line with basic needs requirements, but finds the idea to adopt a full board facility during workshops and seminars as inhumane.

Our efforts to authenticate the 292-page document hit a snag with both the office of the vice president and that of the president as spokespersons for both refused to make any comment.

The taskforce reviewed allowances, employment contracts, conditions of service, and restructuring in public service. However, the report has been kept under wraps since it was publicly handed over to the president by Chilima.

President Chakwera once publicly said the report was meant for him, not any other person.

The issue of the report on the public sector reforms is one of the issues that Catholic bishops highlighted in their latest pastoral letter titled: The Sad Story of Malawi.

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Last modified on Tuesday, 05/03/2024

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