Written by Kondwani Magombo
Secretary to President and Cabinet (SPC), Zangazanga Chikhosi has challenged the newly appointed boards of directors to revitalize the country’s parastatals which, according to the SPC, are currently serving unsatisfactorily.
The SPC made the call on wednesday in Mangochi during the official opening of a three day workshop aimed at orientating the new boards of directors.
Chikhosi said President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera is “extremely excited” with the team and that nothing but success is expected of the new boards of directors.
Said Chikhosi: “This is the first time we have, with due respect to the past, real boards; the President is extremely excited that he has a good team. You are game changers and the President expects nothing but to ensure that parastatals deliver.”
“I can say, without batting an eyelid, that all parastatals are giving unsatisfactory services to the public. Admarc, MERA, Water Boards, Maneb and many more: the performance is wanting.”
He said parastatals have, for a long time, been a frustration to clients and a drain of money that has been burdening government with bailouts.
The SPC described the appointment of the boards as time for turnaround and he expressed optimism that Malawians will now begin to enjoy the services of their parastatals.
He added that the Tonse Alliance government is working tirelessly to achieve the 1 million jobs and a better Malawi for all and that the appointed boards “should not be a hindrance” in their mandate.
“Let us together bring back the lost trust in public parastatals and avoid self-enriching; most importantly, the President doesn’t want any politicization of public parastatals,” said Chikhosi.
Earlier, Comptroller of Parastatals, Nwazi Mnthambala, also challenged the new boards to strive to “leave a legacy of excellent performance” and that “there’s no excuse for non-compliance” to stipulated rules and regulations of corporate governance.
According to Mnthambala, the orientation will, among other areas, cover legislation in terms of corporate governance in Malawi and also the relevant legislation in terms of the 3 P Acts, namely: Procurement Act; Public Audit Act and Public Financial Management Act.
One of the new board members, Ezaius Mkandawire, concurred with Chikhosi and Mthambala saying as new board members the challenge for them to turn around things is enormous.
Mkandawire, who is board member for Copyright Society of Malawi (COSOMA), noted that some boards have failed to perform because of political interference while others it’s because government owes them huge amounts of money.
“We know there are statutory corporations that are heaving owed by central government and they cannot perform so it’s a question of putting up proper negotiation between the two sides so that the statutory corporations remain buoyant,” said Mkandawire on in an interview with Malawi News Agency (MANA) on Thursday.
Mkandawire said, having been oriented, there’s a need for the boards to conduct functional review for them to fully understand the functions of the boards they are in and to appreciate previous performance to identify inefficiencies and what road to take to improve things.