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Government takes reforms to councils

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Local councils are by June next year expected to come up with six proposed areas of reform as one of the public service reform requirements set by the Public Services Reforms Commission to see changes in how business is done in the country’s 35 councils.

Councils have been given up to 2018 to implement reforms in areas of their choice if approved by President Peter Mutharika.

The commission spent Monday and Tuesday in the Northern Region engaging councils from the six districts in the region on the development of the reform areas.

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A similar exercise is expected in Lilongwe for councils in the Central Region on Wednesday. Later next week, councils in the Southern Region will present their areas of reforms.

Speaking on Tuesday, spokesperson for the commission, Constance Kilimo, said the engagement of local governments through district commissioners and directors of planning and development is in an effort to take reforms to rural masses.

“We would like to take the reforms very close to the people. We have had to meet full councils and today [Tuesday] we are meeting the management of the councils just to remind them that the reform agenda is still on so that Malawians can realise fruits of the reforms.

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“We are urging councils to come up with game changing reforms in vital sectors among the health, water and education sector that will ensure transformation,” said Kilimo.

Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development Stewart Ligomeka said in an interview that reforms in councils would bring service delivery change.

“The commission is going to agree with the ministry and the councils on at least six reform areas or less in some cases which they are going to embark on within a year and produce results that will improve livelihoods at community level,” Ligomeka said.

He said the councils in the region have welcomed the reforms and that they have shown commitment through their submissions.

“Reforms in the councils are not just about changing how business is being done at council level but also to improve service delivery to the people.

“The idea is that beginning next financial year, we will have perfected the reform area. Councils should not expect any addition resources for the reforms but should work with the available resources,” Ligomeka said.

The reforms commission, together with the Ministry of Local Government, will monitor the reforms in councils.

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