24 March 2016

Malawi Fire 82 Diplomats, Save Up to K3 Billion - Chaponda Announces Reforms in Embassies

Over 80 Malawian diplomats have been fired by the cash strapped government, saving up to K3.2 billion in tax payers money as the government struggle to deliver public services.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation George Chaponda told a news conference on Thursday that either the diplomats are in Malawi or are on their way to the home country.

"We have drastically reduced the number of our diplomats in our foreign missions and now we are able to save up to K3.2 billion in rentals and school fees payments," Chaponda said.

This was after the powerful International Monetary Fund cleared Malawi to resume Malawi's $150 million extended facility programme which was suspended last year after a scandal involving abuse of state money, a move that would instil confidence in Africa's poorest country to woo donors and investors back on government fold.

Chaponda said the government had to take the decision after it observed that most of the embassies were overstaffed.

He said in some embassies, the staff has been drastically reduced from 20 to six and in small foreign mission from five to two but was quick to say the quality of service will remain the same.

Chaponda said this after telling reporters that out of the 234 diplomats earmarked for the chop, 152 have already been flown home.

He said the government is already serving K3.1 billion in personal emoluments if the envoys and K3.2 billion in house rentals and children education scheme.

"Some of our embassies were overstaffed. We are not doing this because Malawi is bankrupt but we are working on our reforms because we believe a few staff can do the job," said Chaponda, the ruling Democratic Progressive Party vice president parrying away fears the government was purging opposition elements in Malawi foreign mission.

Chaponda said government has also rolled out Performance Management system to all diplomats and local staff in foreign missions and the Ministry Headquarters.

He said under this appraisal system, each and every diplomat as well as local staff members in foreign missions and embassies have been appraised and this has included all staff at the Ministry Headquarters.

"For those that have not performed well in these appraisals have been warned," said Chaponda.

Chaponda has also revealed that government has requested each foreign mission and embassy to develop strategic plan outlining the strategic outcome.

"We will be able to clearly judge them whether they are performing or not," said Chaponda.



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