- The President of Malawi, Lazarus Chakwera, has taken drastic action to save the East African nation from economic ruin
- During a recent live telecast, President Chakwera addressed the nation, noting that he had banned foreign trips for himself and his cabinet
- He stated that all ministers abroad on diplomatic trips should return as he would deduct their fuel allowance by 50 per cent
Legit.ng journalist Segun Adeyemi has over 9 years of experience covering political events, civil society, courts, and metro
Lilongwe, Malawi - Malawi's President, Lazarus Chakwera, has immediately suspended all international travel for himself and government officials as a cost-saving measure.
Additionally, President Chakwera has instructed ministers currently abroad to return home and reduced fuel allowances for senior government officials by 50%.
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According to Aljazeera, he said:
“Any travel deemed absolutely necessary by anyone during that period must be submitted to my office for my personal authorisation.”
Malawi's economy in need of revival
The country's economy has been facing difficulties marked by a shortage of petrol and diesel, along with high inflation.
Chakwera, in a televised address, announced that these austerity measures will remain in effect until the end of the financial year in March 2024.
Similar measures were introduced during the Covid-19 pandemic but were not strictly enforced.
President Chakwera has directed the finance minister to include provisions for a reasonable wage increase for all civil servants in the following budget review to alleviate the cost-of-living crisis.
Additionally, he has mandated a reduction in income tax on individuals in the upcoming budget to support workers whose incomes have depreciated.
Malawi's IMF loan
The IMF granted Malawi a four-year credit facility of $174 million (£140 million) shortly after the country's central bank devalued the kwacha by 44%.
Analysts speculate that the devaluation may have been a prerequisite for securing the IMF credit facility.
However, concerns have been raised that the currency devaluation could lead to increased prices and exacerbate the financial difficulties faced by Malawians, as observed a decade ago.
Officials attribute the economic downturn to external factors such as a devastating cyclone earlier in the year and the war in Ukraine.
IMF gives Nigeria, Ghana, other African countries conditions for debt cancellation
In another development, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is hesitant to grant debt cancellation to Nigeria and other African countries.
The IMF said countries seeking debt cancellations should dialogue with individual creditor nations to find the best options.
IMF's Africa representative, Abebe Selassie, urged African countries to work to minimise the impact of inflation in their respective countries.