‘Cabinet committee on coronavirus intact’
By Isaac Salima:
Presidential Press Secretary, Mgeme Kalilani, has said a special Cabinet committee on coronavirus that President Peter Mutharika appointed last week is intact despite the dissolution of Cabinet.
Mutharika on Friday dissolved the Cabinet, attracting concerns on whether the decision would not affect the country’s preparedness for the pandemic.
But Kalilani said the committee is represented by ministries not ministers.
“Ministries are still there and it is only the ministers that have been abolished. Membership to the committee is not to the minister who holds the office but the ministry,” Kalilani said.
He further said ministries will be free to choose who should represent them in the committee.
“[The] government cannot stop functioning because ministers are not there and people should understand the difference between ministers and ministry,” he said.
Mutharika appointed the committee to provide a national response to the outbreak which continues to affect many countries across the world.
Former minister of Health and Population, Jappie Mhango, was heading the committee which had former ministers for Disaster Management Affairs and Public Events (Everton Chimulirenji), Finance, Economic Planning and Development (Joseph Mwanamvekha), Education, Science and Technology (William Susuwele Banda), Industry, Trade and Tourism (Salim Bagus), Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (Francis Kasaila), Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development (Kondwani Nankhumwa), Homeland Security (Nicholas Dausi) and Deputy Minister of Defence (Chipiliro Mpinganjira).
Health activist George Jobe hailed the government for sustaining the committee.
“Our recommendation would have been that since we do not have the ministers, Principal Secretaries must come in and continue where Cabinet left,” Jobe said.
During the week, Mhango told the media in Blantyre that the government has set up a preparedness budget of K2.4 billion.
He also said the committee would be having regular meetings to discuss how best the country can respond to the outbreak.
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