Cut civil service, Ecama proposes
The Economics Association of Malawi (Ecama) wants the government to cut its wage bill from the current 35 percent of the budget to at least 25 percent by reducing the workforce.
Speaking in Blantyre on Thursday when presenting the association’s input into the 2016/17 budget to Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe, Ecama president Henry Kachaje said Malawi government’s wage bill is “too high and unsustainable”.
Kachaje said cutting the wage bill could go a long way in minimising government expenses in the wake of tough times facing the economy.
“You cannot turn a stone without killing some ants. Obviously, this would imply a cut in the workforce of civil servants. ,” said Kachaje.
He called for a thorough review of the civil service to completely eliminate ghost workers.
“The wage bill has been partly blossomed by ghost workers who continue enjoying remuneration under facilitation of some crooked officers,” observed Kachaje.
Ecama also proposed a change in the national budget template, saying the current one is premised on wrong assumptions and that its effectiveness has remained minimal.
Kachaje said the budget is too focused on consumption, with billions of kwachas still being channeled toward subsidies.
He also called for further narrowing of private sector arrears through prioritisation of settling debts owned to the private sector in the coming budget.
Ecama also called for quarterly meetings between treasury officials and other stakeholders for continued scrutinisation of the budget.
In response, Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe said government is committed to maintain its wage bill within manageable levels.
“We are willing to ensure that the expenditure through wages is within the manageable levels and we commit to ensure that this is sustainable,” said Gondwe.
On change of the budget template, Gondwe said starting from the next financial year, government would ensure that the budget is premised on development.
He also promised that treasury officials will be meeting other stakeholders every three months to review finer details the budget.