Vice-President Saulos Chilima said on Monday the newly appointed Civil Service and Public Service Reform Commission will decide the fate of the over 65 principal secretaries (PSs) in view of the reduced number of Cabinet.
Following the hiring of a full Cabinet by President Peter Mutharika on Monday, the size of the Cabinet, including the President, Vice-President and deputy ministers, now stands at 20.
Chilima, who is also Minister responsible for Civil Service, acknowledged the fact that there are too many PSs compared to the number of ministries.
Some ministries, notably the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology have four PSs with several others having two.
Chilima said the commission, which he is chairing, will as well look at structures of parastatals.
He said: “It is premature at the moment for us to make a commitment that this is what we are going to do with the principal secretaries, but once the terms of reference have been finalised, the media will be told.
“There is a process through which you go and through ‘natural wastage’ where people will be retiring, but all in all, the commission will be in operation for six months. Let us be a little patient because we are dealing with people and we must have a clear understanding of the whole process without making unrealistic targets and false promises or having expectations which are unfounded.”
The President has appointed the seven-member commission whose members include the Reverend Howard Matiya Nkhoma, former general secretary of the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) Synod of Livingstonia; business mogul Thom Mpinganjira, group managing director of FDH Financial Holdings; Bright Mangulama, former director in the Office of the Director of Public Procurement (ODPP).
Socio-legal activist Seodi White, Krishna Savjani of Savjani & Co who is also a senior partner for Sacranie, Gow & Co and Evelyn Mwapasa, chief executive officer for the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Malawi (Icam) are also in the commission.
In its manifesto, DPP pledged policy reforms to attain a faster rate of macroeconomic growth within a stable political and economic environment.
Reads in part the DPP manifesto: “The civil service reforms aimed at improving the conditions of service and professionalism of our civil servants, and developing national capacity to resuscitate economic growth, and creating benchmarks by which performance can be monitored, assessed and evaluated.”
In his inaugural State of the Nation Address delivered in Parliament last week, Mutharika said he wants to reform the civil service and hopes to promote “professionalism, integrity, technical competence and efficiency”.