Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) on Monday met with President Lazarus Chakwera at the Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe where key on the talking points was the decision by Members of Parliament (MPs) to hand themselves an inflation-busting huge increases in salaries and allowance, bringing their salary bill to almost K3.4 billion in the current fiscal year from K2.4 billion in the 2019 /20 fiscal year.
HRDC national coordinator Luke Tembo while confirming the development said his organisation is against the decision which is outlandish, inappropriate and has to be reversed by the President.
He said 193 people from one arm of government – the legislature – will be swimming in opulence at the expenses of impoverished Malawians, majority who are languishing in abject poverty.
“That is true. We met with our President on the double increase of monthly allowance and salary for MPs. We also want government to justify the hike and why perks for other civil servants have only gotten a small margin,” he said.
Tembo told Nyasa Times that the meeting was fruitful as the President has vowed to consider their request.
The President’s executive assistant Sean Kampondeni confirmed during a weekly briefing at Sanjika Palace in Blantyre that Chakwera was in audience with HRDC in Lilongwe.
Allowances or MPs have also increased to K5 billion from K2.2 billion in the previous fiscal year even in the wake of 2020/21 national budget having an overall fiscal balance deficit of K651.5 billion – which is 9.1 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) –
It means now each legislator will get an extra K1.1 million in allowances per month.
The increase was discussed at Parliamentary Service Commission which unanimously agreed that legislators pay be increased from K862 4000 in basic salary to K948 640 00, allowances for housing which were at K200 000, K400 000 on constituency allowance and K250 000 for motor vehicle maintenance have also increased.
They were also getting K150 000 as hospitality allowance and K150 000 for utility bills. The allowances totalled K1 151 860 per month but with the K1.1 million add on, the allowances have now moved to K2.2 million a month.
Centre for Financial Inclusion and Literacy Consultancy executive director Abel Mwenibanda said government must exercise “restraint” in pay awards’ at a time when many Malawians are facing economic uncertainty.
He said this would sends the “wrong message” and highlights the economic divide in the country.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :