Centre for Social Concern faults govt for maintaining minimum wage at K50, 000: “This will push many Malawians into excruciating poverty”

Centre for Social Concern (CfSC) has faulted the Malawi Government for maintaining the minimum wage at K50, 000, warning this will push many Malawians into excruciating poverty.

Presenting CfSC budget analysis to journalists in Lilongwe on Friday, the Centre’s Executive Director Father Dr. James Ngahy expressed disappointment with the government decision to maintain the minimum wage at K50, 000 amidst skyrocketing prices of essential commodities.

Ngahy said there is a lot of discrimination due to provision of low minimum wage that was set by the government, arguing that many Malawians are struggling in poverty due to the low minimum wage.

Father Ngahy presenting their budget analysis to journalists in Lilongwe on Friday–Photo by Steria Manda, Nyasa Times

“CFSC believes that the an increase in minimum wage will help majority of Malawians in attaining their rights such as right to food, right to education, right to access to quality health services and right to life, adding that increasing the minimum wage will also support majority of Malawians to move out of poverty line,” he said.

Recent studies CFSC conducted through its monthly 2021 Basic Needs Basket (BnB) showed that the cost of living has been increasing monthly, reaching up to K235, 000 in January 2022 from K164, 000 in June 2021.

Ngahy said this means that the current minimum wage of K50, 000 cannot support families to buy food that provides adequate nutrition and buy essential household needs.

Father Ngahy (in checked shirt) poses for a photo with journalists after the presentation of budget analysis–Photo by Steria Manda, Nyasa Times

He proposed that the government should increase the minimum wage to K100, 000 in line with food poverty line, which is above K100, 000.

On the other hand, the Centre’s Program Officer for Economic Governance, Bernard Mphepo, asked members of Parliament (MPs) to consider upward adjustment of budget on agricultural development projects to improve productivity and to promote structured markets.

Mphepo said an increase in presence of structured markets will lead to profitable farming thereby increasing income for smallholder farmers and also increase employment, reducing poverty in return.

He added that, an increase in allocation in developing agriculture can also boost the availability of foreign exchange at macro level, claiming that this can contribute to sustainable economic growth and development of the country.

CfSC is Catholic-based organization that promotes research and action on social issues, linking the Christian faith and social justice.

The Centre aims at transforming the unjust structures in Malawian society through research and advocacy so as to ensure sustained change in policies for the betterment of all in line with their human dignity.

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