By REBECCA MUSHOTA and JAMES KUNDA
PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu has made changes at permanent secretary level to ensure accountability and prudent use of Government resources.
The President has promoted director, strategic planning, in the Management Development Division at Cabinet Office Kashell Mwenya to permanent secretary, Remuneration Division in the same office.
Mr Mwenya takes over from Ronald Simwinga who has been moved to Foreign Affairs as permanent secretary in charge of administration.
This is a newly-created office, same as the office of permanent secretary – administration, at the Ministry of General Education.
The new office at General Education has been given to Felix Phiri who was the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Gender.
The new permanent Secretary at Gender is Auxilia Ponga. who was initially permanent secretary at National Development Planning.
This is according to a statement issued by President Lungu’s spokesperson Amos Chanda.
Mr Chanda said the President wanted the permanent secretaries to minimise or eliminate malpractices and wastage of public resources.
“He has directed that he wants to see a new picture in the Auditor General’s reports,” the statement said.
The President said the law-enforcement agencies should also act swiftly against erring officers.
Earlier at State House when he swore-in Joyce Sundano as Ministry of Finance controller of internal audit, President Lungu said he would soon make changes at permanent secretary level in the ministries of Foreign Affairs and General Education, to strengthen control systems and curb misapplication of public funds.
Mr Lungu said it became necessary for him to strengthen the level of internal controls in ministries and other Government spending agencies, with a view of being more proactive in curbing resource abuse before the vice occurred.
The President said the requirement to strengthen the levels of internal controls in Government was necessitated by the need to promote financial management systems by streamlining the functions of ministries, which were too huge for a person to combine the job of controlling officer and handling other technical issues.
“I’m seeing this with regard to the Ministry of General Education and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, I’ll be making changes at permanent secretary levels,” ,” President Lungu said. “Very soon I’ll be introducing a new PS in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and another one in the Ministry of General Education.
The President said he had elevated Ms Sundano’s position to the level of permanent secretary.
President Lungu also swore in Kashell Mwenya as Cabinet Office remuneration division permanent secretary, Joseph Chilengi as Zambia’s ambassador to Turkey and Evaristo Kalonga as Zambia Correctional Service commissioner of prisons.
Mr Mwenya took over from Ronald Simwinga, whom the President said would be redeployed to another ministry, while Mr Chilengi took over from Mirriam Mulenga.
The Head of State expressed confidence that Ms Sundano would personally work closely with her colleagues in the ministries and other spending agencies to ensure that output was to the required level.
The President said he was critically monitoring the performance of controlling officers to ensure that they did their job and controlled matters proactively.
He said he was privy to briefs of financial irregularities in Government but that most of the occurrences could be prevented before the cases qualified to be an audit queries.
“We don’t want to react to situations when it’s too late; to lock the stables when the horses have bolted, it doesn’t help us,” the President said.
He urged Mr Mwenya to ensure that Cabinet Office collaborated with line ministries such as National Planning to formulate mechanisms to enhance budget execution.
Mr Lungu urged Mr Chilengi to enhance Zambia’s working relationship with Turkey by exploring new areas of cooperation in trade, industry, investment cooperation and other economic activities of interest to Zambia.
President Lungu urged Mr Kalonga to utilise his professional skills and experience of 20 years in the service to devise appropriate interventions to address overcrowding of inmates in correctional facilities by recommending a plan of action.
The President commended the Service for honing agricultural activities, adding that Mr Kalonga should also apply his competencies in addressing staff morale and optimising utilisation of human resources in the service.