Lipenga defends K1.6bn cars for Malawi ministers amid austerity measurers

Finance Minister Ken Lipenga has defended Malawi Government expenditure of K1.6 billion (about $4.1m) on a new fleet of four-wheel-drive Toyota Prado TX models for 35 ministers and their deputies amid painful economic reforms that are impacting on 65 percent of the 14 million people living below the poverty line.

Lipenga, answering a question from a reporter at a news conference on behalf of President Joyce Banda, said the expenditure was already budgeted for in the Office of the President and Cabinet.

He further stated that not all ministers will get the top of the range Toyota Prado TX vehicles which cost about K46 million each at Toyota Malawi, adding that ministers would now have only one vehicle.

Government is buying the vehicles to replace the old fleet of E-class Mercedes Benz cars which have not been in use for five years.

Lipenga: New vehicles will replace the Mercedes
Lipenga: New vehicles will replace the Mercedes

The cars were bought during the late president Bingu wa Mutharika’s second term of office, which started in May 2009.

To recover the costs of Mercedes, the government will later sell them, according to spokesperson for Malawi’s Ministry of Finance, Nations Msowoya.

Critics argue the splurge on the vehicles is not in like with austerity measures.

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