Principal Secretary for Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Dalitso Kabambe has disclosed that Malawi has recalled 72 diplomats from its foreign missions in the past six months and 10 others are coming in the first week of November.
Kabambe said K7.3 billion will be saved in the 2016/17 financial year on salaries and benefits as well as rentals for houses of diplomats and school fees for their children,
“As a result of this reduction, the monthly total wage bill for Malawi siplomats abroad has reduced fromK966 million per month to K620 million, transalting to a saving of K346 million monthly and a total of K2.8 billion to the end of the fiscal year,” Kabambe said in a media statement.
He said government will no longer be responsible for payment of house rentals and school fees for the diplomats abroad.
Government has since reduced the number of diplomats in established positions from 234 to 152 this year. The number is expected to reach 126 by next year. On the other hand, the number of local staff in the foreign mission has gone down from 217 to 184.
For example, where there is a press attaché and a tourism attaché, one officer will go and his/her assignments will be taken over by the other.
Kabambe said government has laid off some diplomatic staff and compensation have been determined, saying they will have ti pay out K929 million and K263 million monthy savings to the end of the financial year.
“In total, therefore, through the restricting process, teh government is expected to save K7.3billion in this fiscal year alone, which would have otherwise been paid out,” Kabambe said.
But while the government is trimming personnel in some missions, it has established a mission in Geneva, Switzerland, to strengthen ties with that country and United Nations agencies operating from there. Malawi has also opened a point of representation in Tete, Mozambique where trade and investment opportunities have opened.
In recent years, the government has closed down embassies in Canada, Namibia, France and Kenya. However, the mission in Nairobi was reopened in 2014.
Malawi has 19 foreign missions, with eight in Africa, four in Europe, a couple in Asia, United States of America (USA) in addition to the United Nations mission in New York.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :