Former president Joyce Banda says her administration will raise the minimum wage for all Malawian employees to K40 000 from the current K25 000, representing a 64 percent upward scaling and is upbeat that once voted into power, Malawi will move from poverty to prosperity.
She was speaking on Sunday at Fumba Farm Ground in Lunzu, Blantyre where she addressed a public rally attended by thousands of her supporters and admirers.
The People’s Party (PP) torchbearer noted that the local workforce is eking a living awkwardly because of low wages from both local and foreign employers.
“It is not right for our people to work for the whole month only to get K25 000. We shall adjust that upwards to K40 000 coupled with more efforts to make life easier for this group of people,” said Banda.
The once Forbes Africa’s Most Powerful Woman further said she will on the other hand also protect small businesses by removing ‘unnecessary’ taxes that hinder sector growth.
“Our men and women who operate small scale businesses pay multiple fees to several authorities thereby hindering chances to recapitalize their businesses. This is unacceptable and we will deal with it once and for all,” she said.
JB also said she plans to transform the country’s livelihoods by creating ‘Smart Villages’ which will have free electricity and decent housing for all.
This program will be a continuation of her landmark Mudzi Transformation Trust which she implemented during her two-year tenure.
Commenting on the current political landscape, JB told the rain-soaked gathering that she and her runningmate, Jerry Jana, the former Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) chief executive officer Jerry Jana—who was at some point director of economic affairs in PP – will battle for power on one ticket and that she hasn’t and won’t endorse Vice President and UTM leader Saulos Chilima.
Banda—who came a distant third in the 2014 presidential contest—had earlier given up her quest to return to State House, citing her 68-year-old age and that she had done enough, including being Malawi’s president. She then effusively endorsed UTM Party’s Saulos Chilima.
“At a time such as this, I have looked around and said this person [Chilima] has more energy than I have. All I can do is support him to get to the destination. I don’t have to be on the ticket,” she told British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) before the nomination of papers to the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) at Comesa Hall in Blantyre.
She said Vice-President Chilima is “a young, able gentleman and he can lead this nation”.
But Banda and her PP pulled out of the alliance with UT, taking along her endorsement and saved it for herself.
At the Sunday rally, she repeatedly noted that other quarters would like confuse her supporters by continuing with the sentiment that she is still endorsing Chilima.
Banda also spoke on education, health, agriculture as well as economic growth.
More Malawians trust Joyce Banda than any other political leader in the country, according to a survey by Zomba-based Institute of Public Opinion and Research (Ipor) released last November.