Reduce state residences, cut ministers allowances- Economists Association of Malawi

The Economics Association of Malawi (Ecama) has recommended to government the need to reduce the number of State Residences and the review of ministerial perks.

Ecama made the recommendations through its newly-elected president Henry Kachaje at a pre-budget consultation meeting in Lilongwe.

Kachaje hailed President Peter Mutharika’s reforms in reducing the number of ministerial portfolios, including deputy ministers, to 20 and reforming budgetary allocation for maintaining state residences.

Kachaje

Kachaje

He however said government should ensure that there is “one state residence in each region” as compared to to six in total.

The Ecama president recommended the review of ministerial perks, citing 1,000 litres of fuel allowance per month for a cabinet minister as not being a prudent expenditure.

Kachaje also proposed the management of government debt, incentivisation of export-led production and reduction of private sector arrears in the 2014/15 fiscal plan to be presented in Parliament in September by Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe.

Ecama also proposed an exit strategy of Farm Input Subsidy Programme (Fisp) and desist from introducing some subsidies.

“It is becoming increasingly impossible to sustain the existing direct and indirect subsidies without compromising service delivery in some key  priority areas such as health and educations,” noted Kachaje.

He said before introducing ang subisdy program, there should be a “cost-benefit” analysis.

Secretary to the Treasury Newby Kumwembwe, who presided over the function on behalf of Finance Minister, said Ecama submissions, among other inputs, would form an important input into the 2014/15 budget proposal to be tabled in September.

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