- Malawi’s President Chakwera implements austerity measures, including a suspension of foreign trips and a 50% reduction in fuel entitlements
- Chakwera aims to address economic challenges, devaluation of the local currency, and pledges to lead by example in cost-cutting
In response to the economic crisis facing Malawi, President Lazarus Chakwera has announced significant austerity measures, including the suspension of all foreign trips for himself and government officials. The move aims to reduce the cost of governance and revive the East African country’s struggling economy.
President Chakwera made the announcement on national television, emphasizing the need for immediate action. He directed all ministers currently abroad to return home and declared a ban on foreign trips until March 2024. Any essential travel during this period must receive personal authorization from the President.
As part of the austerity measures, Chakwera disclosed a 50 percent reduction in fuel entitlements for cabinet ministers and senior government officials. The President acknowledged the economic challenges facing Malawi, including fuel shortages, inflated food prices, and a scarcity of foreign exchange.
In response to reported criticism of his frequent foreign travels, President Chakwera asserted that he would lead by example by curtailing his travel plans. He also suspended his attendance at the COP28 climate change conference scheduled for Dubai later this month.
To address the economic hardship, Chakwera instructed the minister of finance to include provisions for a reasonable wage increase for all civil servants in the midyear budget review. Additionally, he ordered a reduction in income tax on individuals to ease the burden on workers whose incomes have depreciated.
These measures come in the wake of Malawi’s central bank’s recent decision to devalue the local currency against the United States dollar by nearly 30 percent. The President’s actions reflect a commitment to addressing the economic challenges and fostering stability in the country.