Other notable reforms
Other notable reforms include One Stop Public Service Centres, rightsizing the Public Service, enforcement of meritorious appointments, Malawi School of Government, Parliamentary Committee of Governance Assurance and Public Service Reforms, improvement in ease of doing business, Greenbelt Authority and citizen engagement/communication reforms.
- One Stop Public Service Delivery Centres
The rationale for One Stop Public Service Delivery Centres (OSPSDC) is based on the Malawi Constitution and the Malawi Public Service Act (1994). It is stipulated that all citizens have the right to access high quality public service. The law stipulates that the Public Service shall be guided only by the concerns and welfare of the public in the delivery of services. OSPSDC was therefore, identified as a flagship project. The centres are meant to enable citizens and customers have a single access point to government information and service transactions under one roof, leading to enhanced service delivery.
This reform anchors other reforms that enhance service delivery such as decentralisation of passport printing services. Through the OSPSDC, citizens will access services at one point which will improve accessibility and convenience. The World Bank has put US$15 million grant to support the project.
The project is piloted using Lilongwe and Mangochi post offices. Refurbishment of the two post offices to suit the delivery of more services is complete and ICT equipment installation is underway. Responsible MDAs for the earmarked services have been trained in operations and change management. Process maps and business re-engineering were conducted. Cabinet endorsed and the President approved brand name and logo.
- Rightsizing the public service
This is an efficiency enhancing reform which seeks to achieve appropriate organisation and staffing structures by rightsizing the number of Principal Secretaries; deleting all posts which are no longer relevant in order to develop a lean and vibrant public service that can be sustainably remunerated. Some of the activities included; conduct a personnel audit in Civil Service; undertake review of MDA Mandates based on new Government structure; and undertake detailed staffing review at all levels and implement revised establishment numbers based on relevant mandates of MDAs. In view of the cost implications, government opted for natural attrition.
- Re-enforcement of Meritorious appointments
Meritorious appointments is meant to improve service delivery through strict consideration of merit in appointment of senior officers, by appointing Public Servants to grades of Deputy Director (Grade E) up to Principal Secretary grade (Grade C) and above through a competitive process of advertising and interviewing applicants. For this to obtain, there was need to amend section 6 of the Public Service Act. A Public Service Bill was prepared. Similarly, an incentive scheme to reward performing institutions and employees is under consideration.
- Malawi School of Government
Capacity development is meant to enhance leadership and management skills for the effective management of government institutions and to promote responsible behaviour and productive work culture. Government is developing a Malawi School of Government (MSG)Bill to enable the Malawi Institute of Management (MIM) and Staff Development Institute (SDI) to become Malawi School of Government (MSG). This is intended to promote professionalism in public service by having public service that is well trained and ethical.
In addition to MSG, with support from UNDP, the PSRMU facilitated training on foresight to Cabinet Ministers, Principal Secretaries, Chief Directors and Directors. Further, Reform Champions and Public Relations Officers (PRO) were oriented on spearheading reforms in their institutions.
- Parliamentary Committee on Governance Assurance and Public Service Reforms
The committee is a reform advocate in Parliament in addition to playing oversight functions through holding hearings with PSRMU. The Committee has interacted with the Commission and supported by submitting reform reports in Parliament. The Committee benefited capacity building from study tours in Kenya, Rwanda, Scotland and plans to visit Ireland.
- Improvement in Ease of Doing Business
The Malawi Investment and Trade Centre (MITC) established a One Stop Shop for investors and has undertaken a number of reforms to ease doing business in Malawi. The results have been impressive with Malawi steadily improving on the rank on ease of doing business which is compiled by the World
- Green Belt Authority
The GBI Holdings Ltd has facilitated the enhancement of irrigation farming in Malawi by providing opportunities for Joint Venture and PPP arrangements for local companies. One registered achievement under this initiative is the development of an Irrigation Scheme in Salima. The irrigation infrastructure is now completed and sugarcane production has commenced. The sugarcane will supply the Sugar Processing Factory at Salima Sugar Company.
- Communication Strategy
The Commission engaged private sector, traditional and religious leaders, civil society organisations and media. Further, the secretariat, PSRMU engaged district council stakeholders prior to the Commission’s engagement with district councils for reform areas. The engagement with district councils has been discussed above as part of public service reforms. The engagement with private sector was mainly to ensure that they are acquainted with reform spirit and could identify their roles in the reform program which mainly would be through financing of some reform projects through Public Private Partnership (PPP), Joint Ventures, Outsourcing and other forms of privatisation. Additionally, the engagement was to alert private sector of potential business opportunities that reforms brought. Malawi remains a country where even Farm Input Subsidy Program (FISP) coupons are printed outside the country, primary and secondary school examinations are printed outside the country and so are other basic things that drain foreign exchange. Successful reforms would require that private sector plays a role by being more aggressive in import substitution.
Engagement with civil society organisations was primarily to ensure that government and non-state actors promote similar ideology such that where one entity is discouraging handouts, culture of allowance the other entity should be doing likewise. Similar objective was justification for engaging media. For traditional and religious leaders, the Commission recognises their influence as they live with people and shape public opinion.