Newly appointed Finance Minister Margaret Mwanakatwe yesterday held a strategic meeting with top management in the ministry at which she expressed concern over the corruption perception in public institution.

And Mwanakatwe also ordered her technocrats to come up with sustainable plans for ensuring that civil servants salaries are paid on time.

According to Ministry of Finance spokesperson Chileshe Kandeta, those present at the meeting Secretary to the Treasury Fredson Yamba, Permanent Secretary for Economic Management and Finance Mukuli Chikuba, Permanent Secretary for Budget and Economic Affairs Dr. Emmanuel Mulenga Pamu, Accountant General Dr. Dick Chellah Sichembe, and Controller of Internal Audit Joyce Sundano. Others in attendance were Treasury Counsel Kawama Goma-Simumba and HRA Director Joyce Nyama.

Kandeta said the minister asked her top management to ensure that the actions and performance of the Ministry of Finance met people’s expectations.

“We have an economy to run, we have an economy to protect, we have an economy to grow,” she said, adding that “we have to intensify our domestic resource mobilisation while at the same time developing sustainable plans for concessional, cost-effective, and value for money external resource mobilisation,” quoted Mwanakatwe as saying.

The Minister requested her team to formulate a plan for offsetting domestic arrears in a systematic manner in order to help dismantle the K9 billion domestic debt. She also directed the team to develop a sustainable plan for timely payment of salaries to public service workers.

Mwanakatwe reiterated governments concern with the perception of corruption in some public offices and urged her team to ensure that the Ministry of Finance “demonstrated and practiced transparency and accountability in the discharge of treasury and economic management functions” in order to augment the public confidence in the trustworthiness of the Ministry to mobilise, manage, and keep custody of public resources “without raising credibility and governance red-lights.”

“This Ministry is key and must play its role in assuring the public that the perception of corruption which has been appended to some public offices will be addressed,” said Mwanakatwe.

Speaking during the same meeting, Yamba disclosed that the Ministry of Finance was formulating a plan to deal with the obligations that the country would have to fulfill as the Eurobonds fall due. He assured the Minister that plans were also underway to dismantle domestic arrears and to timely pay public service workers.