Malawi leader won’t impose salary cut on ministers: Critics say stop ‘globetrotting’

Malawi President Joyce Banda on Tuesday said she will not impose salary cut on her Ministers after she slashed her salary by 30 per cent to share in the “difficult times” suffered by her countrymen since she dramatically devalued the currency.

“I decided to reduce my salary by 30 percent voluntarily hence Ministers can’t be forced to do what I have done. It’s up to them to do so or not,” President Banda said at a news conference on return from New York where she attended UN General Assembly.

Banda said her Cabinet should decice on their own, saying she will not force them to take similar cuts to their pay and perks.

“It’s up to them,” she said.

But despite announcing 30 percent salary cut, Banda’s critics feel there is need to slow down on the “globetrotting” which has seen her take seven trips in just five months.

In her trip to New York, President Banda reportedly took a delegation of 42 people, including chiefs and party cadres, blowing over K300 million. She then connected to South Africa where she attended an investment forum. Banda is scheduled to travel to European Union meeting in Brussels and then Uganda.

But President Banda defended the decision to take the 42-strong delegation.

“There were a series of meeting and how could I unveiled myself to all the meetings there,” said Banda.

“ I took with me a team to the US to attend other meetings on my behalf,” justified Banda, attracting ululations and cheering from People’s Party (PP) followers.

The President however told journalists that the economic woes will soon be mitigated and that effects of devaluation will be addressed “ things shortly will be fine. We’re about to be out of this crisis as our economic recovery is on course.”

She said among other measurers, government will sell the presidential jet, saying the Office of the Director of Public Procurement (ODPP) is handling the process.
“I have vowed never to use it again because it is very expensive. Just keeping it where it is, it’s costly hence I have been ably informed that in due course the jet will be sold,” Banda said.

Banda also disclosed that she already trimmed her motorcade.

“I have reduced the motorcade by 25 percent. There were about 12 motor bikes but I’m remaining with only five of them.

“Some of the vehicles you see on the motorcade don’t belong to me, but rather Ministers,” she said.

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