The Public Service Reforms Commission (PSRC), chaired by the Vice President Dr. Saulos Chilima, on Friday in Blantyre concluded its first quarter progress review meetings with parastatal organizations based in the Southern Region as part of the Commission's tracking mechanism to ensure adherence to implementation of the reforms agenda.
The Commission met 19 Statutory Corporations back to back from Monday 25th to 28th January. The overall assessment of the meetings was satisfactory basing on the willingness and dedication to meet targets agreed upon by the Commission and the respective parastatals.
The Commission was impressed with the ground work and processes that the parastatals have managed to put in place to facilitate the achievement of tangible reform areas which will be reported to the Commission in the second quarter progress review in April, 2016, and the same will be shared to the media. In the next phase, the Commission will also meet parastatal organisations based in the Central and Northern Regions in Lilongwe.
Further, on Friday the Vice President and the Commission met media owners and managers to seek feedback and solicit views that would help to ensure speedy implementation and domestication of the ongoing reforms agenda.
Dr. Chilima also appealed to the media to be change agents of the reforms agenda through their respective media houses, emphasizing that "time is not on our side as a country. It is imperative that we reform and change the way we have conducted business in this country or else we should forget about meaningful development."
Following approval by His Excellency, Prof. Arthur Peter Mutharika, President of the Republic of Malawi, the Vice President announced to the media owners and managers of the forthcoming National Conference on Reforms.
According to a press statement the Commission released on Saturday, the conference, to involve all relevant stakeholders, is meant to receive post-launch feedback as well as seek national seal of approval that as a country we need to adopt the reforms agenda as an only-way-out to meaningful national development and economic recovery.
In the statement the Commission outlines the following reform developments:
1. Establishment of Malawi School of Government
The Malawi Government is in the process of establishing a National School of Government in an attempt to enforce governance, ethics, leadership skills and mind set change in the public service.
A number of preparations have been carried out including a visit by experts from the Kenya School of Government who are in the country orienting a task team, steering committee and lecturers from Malawi Institute of Management (MIM) and Staff Development Institute SD1 In the short term, the Malawi government will this year administratively kick start the project under the existing structures at MIM and SDI as government continues working on legislation to establish the Malawi School of Government.
2. Establishment of One Stop Public Delivery Service Centres
As one way of bringing public services closer to the people, the Malawi government adopted the concept of One Stop Public Delivery Service Centers.
Through this concept some Post Offices in the country will wear a new face and will start offering the following functions under one roof: Application and Collection of Passports, Registration of businesses, Application and collection of Drivers Licenses, National Identity Cards registration, Application of Police Reports, Application of Land Deeds, and Payment of Tax among other things.
The project will be implemented through the already existing structures of Malawi Posts Corporation, the major stakeholder in the project. Mangochi and Lilongwe Post Offices will pilot the project. Renovation and refurbishments are underway and will be completed by February, 2016.
3. Reforms Agenda Representation in Parliament
A parliamentary committee on Governance Assurances was mandated to extend overseeing the ongoing public sector reforms agenda. With this development, the new committee is now being known as the Governance Assurances and Public Service Reforms Committee of Parliament. The secretariat engaged the committee to appraise the lawmakers on the overall reforms programme.
Furthermore, Government organised a knowledge exchange visit for some members of the committee to England and Scotland to tap expertise on how they can ably exercise an oversight function and provide support for the reforms agenda.
The Commission says on behalf of His Excellency, Prof. Arthur Peter Mutharika, President of the Republic of Malawi, the Commission would like to register its satisfaction that there is a national consensus to implement the reforms agenda with a sense of integrity, patriotism and hardwork. Let’s Make Malawi Work.