With the education we’ve we should perform better than KK – Hichilema


With the education we’ve we should perform better than KK – Hichilema

By Fanny Kalonda

PRESIDENT Hakainde Hichilema has challenged his economic advisors to raise the bar.

He says with all the qualifications, his administration should perform better than the Dr Kenneth Kaunda administration.

Officiating at the resumption of the mandatory public service training and the certification to all public sector workers by the National Institute for Public Administration President Hichilema said the refocus of NIPA is a conscious decision to return to training those that work for the public.

He noted that there was a decline in the quality of the public sector delivery commitment to duty and servant leadership.

“I want to say that I found it strange when we took public office in 2021, 24th August 2021. One of the things that I paid particular attention to was my interaction with the private sector over the years as a young professional, young business person, I saw the scale going down from the outside and I was asking myself questions why is it like this and I was asking my assistants. I was asking my assistants they are here, they will tell you. Economic assistant is there, others, you guys do you really rate yourselves as Kaunda’s advisors, special advisers? I said go and sit on your own, have tea, are you at that level or it’s just that I was young or too young to notice that the quality then was very high. I wasn’t demeaning my colleagues. I was challenging my colleagues to raise the bar essentially. If anyone felt I was demeaning them, I think they got me wrong,” he explained. “With the education we have, lucky we are which Kaunda himself gave us, we should perform better than KK as a president. Out of 20 million people Zambians chose me to be President.”

President Hichilema stressed the need for clear policies.

“So what is the issue, clarity in division in the mission but of course the objectives but the policies, the processes, the laws. All the ministers here are members of parliament. You’re very privileged that you are members of parliament and at the same time you’re in the executive because the executive is the custodian of the vision, the mission, on the issues we’re talking about. We just sit as routine, no. We should sit as missionaries there. To say this law is offending that aspect of our vision, we will change it. We have a particular knack to delay things in this country, just exactly is a cancerous problem and we had to go from cabinet to say this thing is delaying the progress. This year’s agenda is economic expansion,” he said. “In this country and many other African countries, we start by saying social support, social and economic development. You will never hear me say social and economic development. You will hear me say economic and social development because the social development can only be feasible sustainably so when we have our economy functioning. The public procurement laws around in our country were standing in the way. After the amending, we went to amend them at parliament there, but we look at now the amendments we realise we still left some rigidities there. We should go back and amend those so that they can facilitate, they can quicken what we do in the public sector to support economic expansion so we can create jobs. We are taking decisions, quick decisions next week, this week, next week for investments in energy for economic expansion to support the mining sector. Our revitalisation of the mining sector requires substantial energy, maybe an additional 2,000 megawatts.”

President Hichilema called on his ministers to set up ministerial delivery units and to provide leadership.

“Let me stress that we are servants of the people. Many times presidents like us start thinking that we are above the people, no! Presidents, Vice-President, cabinet [ministers], permanent secretaries, Secretary to the Cabinet, directors especially this cadre down there, we start thinking when we run the procurement unit that we run it for ourselves. No. We run it for the people. We are servants of the people. And you realise when you’ve taken public interest as priority your own personal interest will be taken care of. Your salary will be paid on time. If the economy is working, your children and nieces that were asking you as a minister for school fees, when your government has the right policies that considers that education is an investment and they bring about free education, now your niece doesn’t have to call you in January or February for school fees. You are a personal beneficiary so it saves you from personal pressure for money because your government is delivering free education…” he said. “Let’s provide leadership. I have asked these cabinet ministers to set up a mirror of the President’s Delivery Unit so that we can be effective and speedy. Timely delivery of the those activities, those investments, those programmes that will help us in the expansion programme for jobs, for businesses and for social support. I have asked ministers to set up ministerial delivery units, it doesn’t replace the civil servants. It uses the civil servants but only … them in a way that they can deliver better, easier, quicker. That’s all. So this training I want to propose that must go beyond cabinet.”

President Hichilema noted that one cannot provide leadership if there is no clarity of the vision to the nation.

“Cabinet ministers provide leadership. These things you see daily in your offices but you walk. you look the other way, you see them daily. You see that this process is taking too long and you pick up your jackets and drive off. Walk in there, walk in the procurement office, walk in the permanent secretary’s office and have coffee there and say ‘why is this thing taking long? Time is money, do you need help? I’m not… that about being aggressive or abusive just do you need help, can I help you? Can someone else help you?’ We create a harmonious team relationship but we don’t abrogate our responsibilities and duties, leadership. You can’t provide leadership if there’s no clarity in your mind as to the vision as to the nation, as the policies, as to the procedures, as to if you like the legal environment. You don’t have to be a lawyer,” he said. “I whispered to the Secretary to the Cabinet, in my usual style I said, I’m not seeing certain ministers here where are they. When we organise a workshop, a programme like this, no one travels. I whispered to him no one travels, and PPS we must all be together because this time we spend together is worth millions of kwacha, billions actually. Otherwise, let me take this rare opportunity and honour to launch the resumption of the mandatory public service training and certification by the National Institute of Public Administration for the whole public sector. Mr [Patrick] Kangwa reminds me that he is not Secretary to the Cabinet for the civil service but for the public sector. So we relaunched this programme and in collaboration with our brothers and sisters from the National School of Government in South Africa, let’s give it support. Let’s enjoy what we do. If you sit here and you’re looking at your watch that when it’s tea break, I have to go and do something else then you shouldn’t be sitting here because if your mind is not here your body is of no value here. Everything is in the mind.”

President Hichilema added that the relaunch would sharpen the skills of public service workers.

“I was whispering to the Vice-President that I’ll send you (Secretary to the Cabinet) back [to Singapore], this time I want you to take a few PSs (permanent secretaries). I want you to take a few directors, I want you to take a few procurement officers there, Singapore. Walk them through how they move from where we are, where we were together with them, how they left us behind. How we accepted to be left behind and hopefully when they come they can now meet a broader public sector including local government and indeed parastatals because the love for consumption expenditure lives with the direct civil service, wider public sector, councils and parastatals. But I have been studying this graph and I began to see that there was a correlation to the quality of the public sector delivery commitment to duty, servant leadership, I could see in my own mind, obviously I love numbers, and many Zambians know that there is a decline here. And it wasn’t a shock for me to see that the economy began to decline and decline at an exponential level. Not good,” said President Hichilema. “And so one of the early decisions I asked my colleagues and myself, I said where is NIPA? What’s happened to NIPA? So this relaunch, this refocus of NIPA is not a … it is a conscious decision that we must return to training those that work for the public, sharpen their skills, benchmark. Let them benchmark. Benchmarking is very important. Information knowledge sharing is very important no need to reinvent the wheel…”



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