Uncle Harvest writes: "Of Auditor General Requirements"

Malawi needs the best qualified person as an Auditor General, not somebody to just fill the post.

The Nation Newspaper of Monday 6 September 2021 published an article titled, “Govt sticks to restrictive Auditor General requirement."

It talks of the Ministry of Finance's insistency that the requirement for an Auditor General to possess a valid Malawi Accountants Board practicing certificate that the article describes as restrictive.

Other requirements being a master's degree in finance, commerce or accountancy in addition to 10 years experience.

It further notes that the about 60 Malawians with such qualifications that work with the private sector.

It must be noted that the Office of the Auditor General is a very senior government posts with a critical role in financial accountability and governance.

It must be held with the same esteem as similar institutions like the Anti-Corruption Bureau, the Financial Intelligence Bureau and the Police.

There was an earlier proposal that the Auditor General Act be revised to come up with a less restrictive qualification requirement.

It sounds as though some quarters are advocating for less stringent qualifications for the post to attract less qualified people in order to fill the post.

This begs the question: “Wouldn't this be an excercise in the promotion of national mediocrity?”

Should standards be lowered in order to fill a post because available qualified people would not be attracted to the post as it currently stands?

I am reminded of the recent announcement by the National Football Team coach as the team was leaving for Cameron, saying that he was preparing for draw, a win would be an icing on the cake.

How can we as a nation focus on a draw?

How can we focus on mediocre outcomes?

I was surprised that FAM allowed him to travel to Yaounde. The results was a 2-0 defeat. What did we expect?

In Human Resource Management, there is an alternative to advertising for posts were it is well known that the market is tight and highly competitive.

You opt for talent scouting and identification. Once a candidate is identified you make an offer and negotiate the renumeration package and benefits.

You don't lower your standards for the job requirement.

Malawi needs the best qualified person as an Auditor General, not somebody to just fill the post.

The second area of concern that this article brings out is: Who is responsible for the national human resources planning for Malawi. Who is responsible for working with Universities and other training institutions to produce people with knowledge, competencies, and skills that the country requires?

What does it take for someone to get a Malawi Accountants Board practicing certificate for the country to have such a limited number of people with the qualification?

Is our national human resources planning an exercise in mediocrity too. Mindset change is required in so many areas of our national life indeed.

But let us not bring down the bar in order to fill such important national position below acceptable standards at such a critical time in our history.

#say no to mediocrity.