Bingu rejects 'deplorable' salary hike for MPs

Malawi President Mutharika has rejected a proposal by members ofparliament to raise their salaries from K390 000 (about $2 335) to K1 000 000 ($5 988) a 255 per cent increase, Nyasa Times understands.

The parliamentarians, adopting a report from the Public Appointments and Declaration of Assets Committee, which among other targets seeks to improve conditions of service of legislators, cited the rising cost of living due to the recently increased fuel prices as the reason behind the staggering raise.

But President Mutharika in a bid to stick to austerity measures in this time of economic crisis has turned down the proposal and will not assent to it, State House sources told Nyasa Times.

Mutharika; No salary increase for MPs

“The President has rejected the proposal to raise MP salaries. It’s deplorable to have such a salary increase,” said a State House source.

Government spokeswoman Patricia Kaliati confirmed. She said Mutharika reversed the decision following a public outcry adding that it showed that the government cared about the plight of ordinary citizens.

She said Mutharika has thrown the proposals “outside the window.”

Commentators say this is the first good decision Mutharika has made in a long time.

Mustapha Hussein, a political science lecturer at Chancellor College, said Mutharika’s good decision is “in line with what people expect as most of them don’t want this hike due to the state of our economy.”

Hussein pointed out that Mutharika’s disapproval of the proposal “would therefore make him score a political point as many people would be happy with the rejection.”

One MP, Ulemu Chilapondwa, justified the increase saying there are misconceptions that parliamentarians receive a lot of money making their constituents depend on them for assistance.

But commentators say the proposal was ill timed, saying it will be important to implement the proposed salaries once the economy starts rebounding.

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