VP talks reforms at Icam conference

Vice-President Saulos Chilima has said the reforms government has undertaken will help to create a vibrant public service as well as ensuring prudent use of taxpayers’ money.

He said government has embarked on two critical and bold reforms—public service and public finance management—which are necessary to stimulate an efficient environment in the public service.

Vice President Silos Chilima: We must live with our means
Vice President Silos Chilima: We must live with our means

“Government believes that efficiencies to be achieved through these reforms will create a vibrant public service and a more effective and efficient utilisation of public resources,” said Chilima at the inaugural Institute of Chartered Accountants in Malawi (Icam) annual conference in Mangochi on Thursday.

“At an operational level for both stability and efficiency, the essential tool is the 2014/15 budget. The plan, therefore, is to first try to live within our means and to grow only when there are clear excesses.”

He said the reforms were not a matter of multiple choice, stressing that the job is currently underway and urged all Malawians, including accountants to embrace the reforms.

In June this year, President Peter Mutharika appointed a seven-member commission, chaired by Chilima 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 who is also group managing director of FDH Holdings, Bright Mangulama, former director in the Office of the Director of Public Procurement (ODPP).

The other members are socio-legal activist Seodi White, Khrishna Savjani of Savjani & Co and Evelyn Mwapasa, CEO of Icam.

The commission has over the past months been to a number of countries to learn how the civil service is carrying out its duties.

Chilima said government will create a conducive environment that is stable and efficient, to give confidence to both the public and private sectors.

With regard to stability, he said government is maintaining the foreign exchange and fuel pricing regimes because they are critical in maintaining a predictable environment where players can properly plan and execute their operations.

The reforms come at a time government is reeling from the effects of Cashgate—the systematic looting of public funds by both public and private sector individuals and companies—which resulted in over K13 billion being stolen.

Outgoing president of Icam, William Matambo, said the choice of the conference theme ‘Rebuilding a culture of excellence’ was timely, considering that Malawi has just attained 50 years of independence.

“There have been times in the 50 years when we have excelled. In the 1980s, Malawi was one of the star performers. Lately, there have been examples of excellence,” he said.

Matambo said there is need to uplift the contribution of all individuals and institutions in Malawi for accelerated development and one of the ways was through building a culture of excellence.

The conference, which pooled more than 500 members of the professional body, attracted both local and foreign presenters.

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