Malawi expenses to UN ‘reasonable and necessary’ – State House

State House has confirmed that President Mrs Joyce Banda and her entourage’s trip to the United Nations General Assembly in New York.will cost f K308 million (about $1.03 million) but says the amount is “reasonable”.

Presidential press secretary Steve Nhlane said the K308 million is “reasonable “and far much smaller than what government was spending during previous UN General Assembly meetings.

Nhlane said apart from being the lowest in the history of UN meetings,  he called it  “a necessary expense” given the importance of the many meetings President Banda is holding with potential investors and world leaders whose support Malawi needs for rebuilding  her economy.

Nhlane: Necessary expenses

“The goal of these meetings is to galvanize support of the international community and bring in investors into Malawi,” said the presidential press secretary.

According to Nhlane, President Banda’s work with the international community has already brought back over $500million from the IMF, the Millennium Challenge Corporation and others for Malawi’s economic growth.

Commenting on Banda’s steps to improve the economy, Nhlane said: “It is pleasing to note that most donors are impressed with the bold steps that Her Excellency has taken to put the economy on the recovery path and that this task of putting the economy back on the recovery path will take time, as The Nation newspaper reported on Friday, September 21, 2012.”

The President’s entourage is comprised of 33 people.

“This is the smallest group that a President has ever taken to the United Nations in recent years,” Nhlane pointed out.

He explained that during a similar trip in 2010, the late President Bingu wa Mutharika had over 42 people in his delegation. They included many party leaders and chiefs.

According to Nhlane, for that trip, Malawi Government spent over K700 million (at today’s exchange rate) including expenses for the Presidential jet that the former President was using.

He noted that after the UN meeting, the former President would go on a month-long vacation in Europe.

Nhlane confirmed that President Banda has also taken with her four chiefs.

“These have gone there in their other capacities such as members of the Presidential Initiative on Poverty and Hunger Reduction (PIPHR),” he explained.

He said during the trip, PIPHR will sign important MOUs with potential investors such as the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) on crucial programmes aimed at reducing poverty among Malawians.

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