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Office of the President and Cabinet fails on reforms

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The Public Sector Performance Evaluation Report for the 2016/17 financial year says the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) is one of the departments that performed poorly in implementing reforms in the public sector
Ironically, it is the OPC which houses and champions the public sector reforms agenda.
Results of the evaluation exercise, which a team of six government-appointed independent evaluators conducted between August 27 and September this year, show that all government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) have performed poorly in implementing the reforms.
According to the report, despite a slight score improvement as compared to the 2015/16 evaluation, the OPC’s performance on finance and stewardship, work environment and employee satisfaction dropped.
“The OPC did not also perform well on cost efficiency, development expenditure and reduction of arrears. These have offset the little gains realised on the other categories and indicators,” the report reads.
This is not surprising considering that, just this month, the Chief Secretary in OPC, Lloyd Muhara, wanted to spend K64 million to furnish his office but a Malawi News report forced the government to suspend the purchase indefinitely.
However, the report also mentions some improvements the OPC registered in some areas such as service delivery, corruption eradication and non-financial activities, especially implementation of its strategic plan.
“Going forward, the OPC has a lot of ground to cover under all the categories. It needs to work more on financial prudence by instituting cost efficiency measures and reduction of arrears; put more effort on [sic] service delivery especially dissemination of the service charter and customer satisfaction, institute complaints resolution mechanisms,” reads the report in part.

The evaluators also advised the OPC to put more effort in implementing its core business and strengthening its oversight function, which is to ensure that the public service is running smoothly.
Despite being one of the ministries that get a lot of government funds, the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development failed to demonstrate how it had spent its resources, be it in planned priority areas or unplanned areas.
“Even though they over-performed on the collection of revenues, the other indicators had poor performance especially savings, development index and the repayment of arrears,” part of the report reads.
Other notable MDAs that have also been given a poor performance rating are the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Ministry of Health, Local Government and Rural Development, Ministry of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development, Lilongwe Water Board and Northern Region Water Board.
Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, Goodall Gondwe, who was present during presentation of the report on Wednesday, described the performance evaluation report as an important tool.
“It is an important thing on the performance of government departments because it urges people to do better and better every year,” Gondwe said.

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