Malawi Government has warned it will discipline senior public officials who show complacency in managing contracts or meddle with the contract management system.
Among others, the system is responsible for checking and analysing all contracts before any ministry commits government to it to ensure that contracts benefit the people they are intended for.
Chief Secretary to the Government George Mkondiwa made the remarks on Thursday when he opened a workshop on the system at the Malawi Institute of Management (MIM) campus in Lilongwe.
German development arm GIZ funded the workshop that was aimed at drilling public officers in knowing the vices and virtue of sound contract management in a bid to reduce loss of resources that is due to improper contract management.
Mkondiwa explained that government will now be personally holding responsible all mismanaging top public officials for any losses government can incur in any contract transaction.
Mkondiwa said: “You are also reminded that with the performance contracts you will sign with government, it means if you cannot perform and you are on contract, then the contract will not be renewed.
“On the other hand, if you are on permanent and personal terms, such mismanagement may lead to you missing out on possible promotions.”
He, however, said the workshop came at an opportune time as more still needs to be done as ministries’ heads rarely keep in touch with what is happening on the ground, arguing the workshop will help government look at all weak areas and points in the contract management.
“We are, therefore, urging all principal secretaries to show interest in the contracts and also they should be supervising the contracts that are assigned in their ministry and they should be able to follow what is happening at the ground,” said Mkondiwa.
He added: “Contracts should be done within specific timeframes and PSs need to ensure that quality is not compromised.”
GIZ representative at the workshop, Barbara Dutzler, hailed the contract management system, calling it vital to achieving good governance as it promotes transparency and accountability.
“Of course, it is very relevant because most part of government resource public funds is spent through contracts. Contracts for supply and services for public vehicles, for instance, take about 40 to 60 percent of overall government expenditure. As such, it is imperative for government to have overall view on its commitment, obligation and the value for money that they get through contract; and to ensure that the goods and services are delivered in the right quantity and right time.” Dutzler said.