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Reforms may cost civil servants’ jobs

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The process to get rid of some civil servants in the wake of the Public Sector Reforms Programme is under way as legal and other requirements and processes are being finalized.

Secretary for Public Sector Reforms Nwazi Mnthambala said Thursday that the downsizing of the civil service would indeed take place when she was answering a question on whether or not government will lay off some civil servants.

She was speaking in Mzuzu when she opened a two day public sector reforms orientation workshop for District Information Officers and other public officers in the Northern Region.

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“It is a process,” said Mnthambala. “Some of the decisions involve the legal framework and those are the issues that are happening. You are aware that in our set up we do not change leaving out the oversight institutions.”

She explained that processes have started and the necessary procedures are going to be followed up to the National Assembly and that consultation process will take place.

“That process cannot take place overnight. It takes time,” she said.

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The reforms programme which was launched by President Peter Mutharika on February 11, 2015 to ensure that public servants deliver quality services on principles of excellence, accountability and with patriotism. The programme started with eight pioneer ministries of Finance, Economic Planning and Development; Health; Home Affairs and Internal Security; Education, Science and Technology; Information, Tourism and Civic Education; Natural Resources, Energy and Mining; Local Government and Rural Development and Transport and Public Works.

The first phase of the reforms was marred by lack of adequate funding according to the Public Service Reform Commission June 2015 report. And the Ministry of Local Government performed poorly in terms of making headway with the reforms.

“The ministry failed to accomplish majority of its planned activities for the quarter. The activities are numerous and may need to be made a little more focused,” reads the report.

The report further reads: “Overall performance was commendable in most ministries. Other ministries whose target dates are in the next quarter have started working on the business process that will lead to achievement of the set targets. Funding was a commonly reported challenge. It is hoped that with new budget in place, there will be higher speed in implementation than in previous quarter.”

The new progress report is finalized and was submitted to Mutharika for his approval and would be made available to the public “soon” according to officials in the reforms department.

Some of the reforms that have taken place include downsizing the number of principal secretaries; establishment of a Health Fund in the Ministry of Health and hospital autonomy and reviewing the ministry’s agreement with private hospitals through Christian Health Association of Malawi; the new vehicle registration process at the Road Traffic Directorate among others.

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