When people look at the government they must view it as a solution provider and development partner in the advancement of their lives. Government shouldn’t be viewed as a facilitator of corruption for the enrichment of a few people. It shouldn’t be a dumping ground for people who have been employed due to their links within the system. The government must not be synonymous with inefficiency, nepotism and corruption.
A PAC government will reform and restructure the government in order to bring about efficiency and minimisation of costs. The PAC government will outsource some government functions that do not form the core of running the government. This will be in an effort to ensure that government focuses on its core business; and that is to reduce costs, empower entrepreneurs to run these functions and also stamp out corruption. The PAC will put in place systems that will ensure the civil service operates efficiently. This will include implementing modern information technology techniques to improve the flow of service delivery in the civil service.
A PAC government will be a lean and entrepreneur driven government. Its cabinet shall be led by the President of the Republic of Zambia as overall presiding officer over the nation’s affairs. There shall be a Vice President who will deputise the President and preside over Government Business in the National Assembly of Zambia. The Vice President’s main focal area will be Empowerment and Employment in addition to other responsibilities. The PAC government will focus its greatest attention where the need is greatest even as we will push for reforms and restructuring in all areas of governance. PAC has identified empowerment and employment as the main focal point and hence will be driven by the Vice President instead of a Minister. This is to ensure that this critical area of need receives the attention that it deserves.
2. Permanent Secretaries
A Permanent Secretary (PS) is supposed to be the Chief Executive Officer of a Ministry. A PS is at the very core of government operations. Permanent secretaries must therefore be adequately qualified to manage the functions of the particular Ministries where they are appointed. However, what is obtaining is exactly the opposite. Many Permanent Secretaries are not appointed based on merit but rather based on relationships or connections to the ruling party. This has been exhibited in successive governments, and it has hampered real transformation in the functioning of the government.
Government systems have remained stagnant due to lack of adequately qualified personnel to manage the challenges. Many appointed government officials are politically connected. In as much as any leader must work with a loyal team, as PAC we believe that that team must be qualified for the benefit of this country. Government structures have remained obsolete and have failed to deliver services on time and fairly. Currently, it’s not about what you need; it’s about who you know. Our politics have been negatively affected. Most government appointments are based on paying back favours and enriching the inner circle to the detriment of the poor majority.
In order to bring about reforms in the way government operates the PAC will ensure that a competent public service commission advertises for all appointments of Permanent Secretaries. The President will only be furnished with a short list of the best candidates to choose from to appoint. The PAC will put in laws that will make it difficult to fire Permanent Secretaries that meet their performance management targets. All Permanent Secretaries applying for jobs will be required to bring forward a thesis that describes how they will transform that particular Ministry and how they can ensure government improves service delivery once they are appointed. Key to this will be cost effective, efficient and optimum service delivery.
Diplomats that have been appointed to various missions have just gone there to warm seats and do business as usual. Most of them like any other political appointments have not been appointed on merit but based on personal connections with people in politics. There is also no clearly laid out plan to ascertain exactly what’s to be achieved in various missions especially where there is opportunity.
The PAC government will ensure self-driven individuals are appointed as Ambassadors and High Commissioners in various missions. The PAC will also ensure that missions with areas of particular interest and prospects are properly equipped to ensure the opportunities yield optimum benefit for the republic of Zambia. The PAC will appoint Diplomats who are trade oriented as opposed to being there just registering presence. This will work hand in hand with our plan of opening export markets. Missions must be able to open opportunities for various businesses for Zambians and on the other side channel investors to Zambia.
Hence, there will be proper coordination between the government and missions to ensure that opportunities opened are tapped and investors attracted are made to invest. The PAC government will restructure all its diplomatic missions to ensure that they are reflective of the needs of today.
The PAC will focus on opening markets for Zambians in other countries in order to diversify the economy especially to Agriculture. This is where Zambian farmers can crop diversify and focus on farming products that are needed in certain countries. It will also create an opportunity for manufacturing industries to export finished products to these countries. This will bring about sustainable empowerment programs where the diplomatic missions will ensure there are readily available markets for particular products and services.
Diplomatic missions will also ensure Zambians in those countries operate within the confines of the law and within trade agreements signed. This will help missions to adequately protect businesses in countries where the business environment might be volatile.
The Republican President will spearhead all trade agreements are signed between Zambian and other countries.
In the final article of fixing the system we shall tackle reforms in the fight against corruption.
(Gerald Pule Mulao People’s Alliance for Change (PAC) Secretary General)