Malawian President Chakwera announces measures for public spending cuts

Malawi President Elect Lazarus Chakwera
Lazarus Chakwera

Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera has imposed measures to restrict public spending as the country grapples with high inflation and devaluation of its currency, the Malawian kwacha.

Chakwera announced the measures in a televised statement Tuesday evening at his state residence in Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi.

One of the measures stipulates that public officers, including the President himself, who need to travel abroad for their work “out of absolute necessity,” will only be allowed to take no more than three trips during the remainder of the year, unless in cases of unforeseen extreme emergency.

The Malawian leader has also directed cuts of top-up allowances to public officers on fully-funded trips for work, training, workshops, or conferences.

Ministry officials traveling within the region for work will have to fly economy class, while allocations of fuel allowance for all Cabinet members are to be cut by 20 percent.

Chakwera has also restricted any procuring entity in the government from importing goods or services into the country unless proof that the goods and services cannot be procured locally is submitted to and approved by the Minister of Finance.

“These measures may not be amended by any government ministry, agency, department, or parastatal without prior authorization from my office,” said Chakwera in his statement.

Malawi has been experiencing a high inflation rate, which the Malawian leader has always attributed to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, saying it has led to a dwindling supply of some commodities such as wheat flour.

Recently, the Reserve Bank of Malawi announced a devaluation of the country’s currency, the Malawian kwacha, citing deteriorating export earnings and increased import bills due to supply chain disruptions, as well as the rising commodity prices following the escalation of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Chakwera has justified the devaluation of the kwacha, saying his government is “putting a dislocated joint back in its place” and that “it is the right thing to do” to recover the economy. Enditem

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