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Chilima postpones Northern Region trip

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State Vice-President Saulos Chilima will not go up north as earlier planned to meet heads of departments and parastatal organisations as part of his reform agenda due to the new measures the government has put in place to fight the spread of Covid-19.

Chilima, who is also Minister responsible for Economic Planning and Development and Public Sector Reforms, is being briefed on the implementation of the reforms in the institutions.

The meetings started in Lilongwe last Tuesday then proceeded to Blantyre and Mzuzu was the last on the agenda as the vice-president champions the change of work ethic in government ministries, departments and agencies.

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His spokesperson Pilirani Phiri said in a statement released yesterday that after the release of the new guidelines, the Directorate of Public Sector Reforms communicated the postponement to all invitees and stakeholders to the meeting.

“The office of the vice-president notes that the Mzuzu meeting would have attracted more participants as it would have brought together all Northern Region-based district councils, parastatal CEOs and their Directors of Finance, hence the postponement of the meeting to a later date to be announced,” Phiri said.

Chilima once spearheaded the implementation of the reforms while in the Peter Mutharika administration but had the responsibility taken away from him in 2017.

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Phiri ruled out that the cancellation was due to the accident which the vice-president’s convoy was involved in on Saturday.

Chilima was not hurt as his vehicle was not directly involved in the accident but four people died after a vehicle they were travelling in collided with one of the vehicles on the vice-president’s convoy in Balaka on his way back to Lilongwe.

On Friday, the government announced new measures aimed containing the spread of Covid-19 as cases have passed 2,000 with over 30 deaths.

Among others, the government, through the ministries of Health and Local Government, has decided to suspend and regulate mobile markets, ban street vending in all trading centres to avoid overcrowding of places and conduct massive clean-up campaigns every week and fumigate the markets weekly.

On meetings and workshops, the new measures indicate that only those related to Covid-19 are permissible or those approved by District Commissioners or Chief Executive Officers.

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