Secretary to the Treasury Ronald Mangani has said the National Planning Commission (NPC), which government is currently establishing will help to formulate and review policies and strategic plans for national development and also recommend allocation of resources.
Once created, NPC will be an independent body for strategic thinking on matters of national development, established by an Act of Parliament.
Development experts have always called for a national development plan that could guide the country’s long-term development agenda.
The structure of the proposed NPC seen by Business News shows that it will be housed in the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC), headed by a director general with the rank of deputy chief secretary.
The commission shall be reporting to the National Planning Council, which will be chaired by the President and deputised by Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development and their main purpose will be to ensure continuity of development.
“The commission will oversee implementation of national development plans, lead research in collaboration with local and international experts and make evidence-based recommendations to the National Economic Council,” said Mangani in write-up seen by Business News.
He said the chairperson and commissioners shall be appointed by the President on the basis of their professional experience, knowledge and expertise in various fields.
At secretariat level, he said it will comprise a network of professional experts whose core functions will be to support research efforts, drafting overall plans for national economic development, evaluating development projects, proposals and programmes and also coordinating economic policy making activities.
Mangani said government will consult widely on the creation of the commission before formulating a Cabinet paper and parliamentary bill.
But Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) chief executive officer Chancellor Kaferapanjira urged government to ensure that the commission is headed by “someone with substance.”
Head of Britain’s Department for International Development (DfID) Jen Marshall, speaking on behalf of development partners, has welcomed government’s decision to establish the commission and advised that it should be independent and well resourced.
The formation of the commission will not be new as former president Joyce Banda once appointed a 24-member High Level Development Council which was chaired by Matthews Chikaonda, group chief executive officer of Press Corporation Limited (PCL).
However, the difference this time around is that the NPC will be established by an Act of Parliament.