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Parliament sends back Pac report

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Richard Chimwendo Banda

Parliament has sent back a report which its Public Appointments Committee (Pac) presented to the august House last month, saying some of the things cited in it have been overtaken by events.

In the report, the committee outlines activities it carried out between 2020 and 2021.

Leader of the House Richard Chimwendo Banda said some of the issues raised had been overtaken by events, hence Parliament’s recommendation.

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Issues raised in the report include those to do with the resignation of Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera) board members.

Before Chimwendo Banda intervened in the issue, Chitipa South legislator Werani Chilenga, who is also Natural Resources and Climate Change Committee of Parliament, said the Pac report contradicted what the House adopted through a report his committee presented to the chamber.

Chilenga said his committee recommended the firing of the board of Mera while Pac said they did not find any indications of incompetence in operations of the energy regulatory body.

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“Our committee had fully engaged them and came up with recommendations and the House adopted [the recommendations], where it faulted the way the Mera board was conducting its activities,” he said.

On the issue of stopping Secretary to President and Cabinet (SPC) from heading statutory boards, Chilenga said it was the prerogative of the State President to appoint anyone he trusted.

“Fuel is a very strategic commodity and requires that someone he trusts at that particular time be in control. Let us not be seen as if Parliament is trying to dictate to the government [Executive] what it should be doing,” he said.

On the other hand, Mzimba North legislator Yeremiah Chihana said, considering the conflict between Mera and National Oil Company of Malawi office-bearers, there was a need to revisit operational guidelines for the institutions.

In its report, Pac said the involvement of the SPC in boards was compromising the decision-making process when resolving issues pertaining to operations of boards.

The House also rejected a report from the Committee on Government Assurances and Public Sector Reforms after a fierce debate on the nature of the person appointed as National Unity Minister.

The committee, through its chairperson Noel Lipipa, recommended that the appointed person should be seen to be neutral and not participate in any political activities.

However, Chimwendo Banda and other legislators from the government side did not agree to that, insisting that it was the prerogative of the President to appoint the office-bearer.

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