Reserve Bank of Malawi Governor, Wilson Banda, has defended the hiring of Export Development Fund (EDF) Chief Executive Officer, Gerald Nsomba, saying his recruitment followed all necessary procedures.
Banda said this when he appeared before Public Appointments Committee of Parliament following claims that Nsomba was handpicked without going through a competitive process, as required under Section 4 of the Public Service Act.
Among others, members of the committee queried why Nsomba got the job despite him not having a Master’s Degree.
Responding to the allegations, Banda, who was accompanied by other RBM top officials, told the committee that recruitment of the CEO was done by the EDF Board of Directors.
“Export Development Fund CEO’s recruitment went through normal procedure, it was advertised in both The Nation and Times [papers], endorsed by the board members,” Banda said.
On her part, RBM Legal Counsel, Agnes Sentala, explained to the committee how the recruitment process was done, further saying that Nsomba is well qualified as he has experience in the financial sector for more than a decade.
“The CEO has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration obtained at Mubas (formerly Malawi Polytechnic), and he has Post-graduate Diploma in Trade Policy and Trade Law, which helped him to be recruited and work for two reputable regional development banks,” Sentala said.
She further argued that in matters of recruitment, experience is taken to mean practical skills and knowledge gained from actually doing something.
She explained that Nsomba worked at Afreximbank, which has 53 African countries as its members and Trade and Development Bank which has 21 African member states.
“At Afreximbank, he worked as Manager in the Intra-African Trade Initiative for three and a half years. He was recruited to participate in the establishment of the Intra-African Trade Initiative, a semi-autonomous division of the Afreximbank which seeks to promote trade and investments between and among African countries,” Sentala said.
She further said during his time, he generated and implemented transactions of around $3.1 billion in around 14 African countries which involved engagements with heads of state, cabinet ministers, central bank governors, leading industrialists and other private sector leaders.
But Nneno South lawmaker, Mark Katsonga, and other committee members expressed dissatisfaction on how the CEO was hired.
“If at all the Chief Executive Officer has performed well, where is his performance appraisal to show the committee that the fund is benefiting Malawians?” Katsonga said.
But Mzimba North legislator, Yeremia Chihana, supported the RBM officials, saying the qualifications for the CEO, especially having the post-graduate diploma in Trade Policy and Trade Law from Lund University, was equivalent to having a Master’s Degree.
He said this was the right qualification for him to perform in the jobs, as evidenced by his previous employment with two regional development banks.
He said given that EDF aims to support growth and diversification of Malawi’s exports, also looking at how Malawian exporting companies expand their footprint in Africa, the post-graduate qualification was deemed relevant as called for in the advert.
On the divided opinion of the members of the committee, chairperson of the committee Joyce Chitsulo said they are free to make their opinion as they represent different constituencies.
“….but at the end of it all, we have to come to a conclusion,” Chitsulo said.
The committee has asked the RBM Governor and his team to provide documentation that was used when recruiting Nsomba.
They have also requested the RBM to furnish the committee with the performance appraisal of the Fund.
EDF is a national development finance institution set up by RBM, in collaboration with government, to support growth and diversification of the country’s exports.