Malawi’s Head of State Joyce Banda says cabinet would soon discuss the merits and demerits of retaining the presidential jet, which was bought by government for the late President Bingu wa Mutharika amid serious reservations by Western donors, including Britain.
“Cabinet will have to decide what we should with it,” she said of the presidential jet, which donors said was a serious drain on the already meagre resources.
Banda told journalists at her official residence in the Capital City Lilongwe on Friday that on her part, she had no problems “offloading it as I can as well use private airliners; I am already used to hitch-hiking”.
But Banda said she could not make the decision on her own and that whatever the cabinet decides, she would oblige.
Mutharika Government bought the French-made presidential jet- Dassault Falcon 900 EX in 2009 for K3.4 billion (about $22.4 million) with projected maintenance and insurance costs at US$300, 000 (K45million) per year.
The late Mutharika vehemently defended the decision to buy the extravagant plane, saying it was cheaper to own than lease one each time the Head of State had to travel.
In 2009, the UK expressed its disappointment with Mutharika’s decision to purchase the jet and reduced aid to Malawi.
Several people have continued to raise questions on Nyasa Times through the comment section whether the government can afford the presidential jet.