Malawi spends K0.7bn on ministerial perks annually

Malawi Government might be footing an annual bill of almost K0.7 billion (US$1.75 million) on ministerial perks, a government press statement has revealed.

In a statement to expel what the government called misinformation on the appointment of presidential advisors, Minister of Information, Tourism and Civic Education was forced to give a detailed breakdown of the ministerial perks which shows that each minister’s package sums up to almost K2.853 million a month.

The monthly package include basic salary of K600,000, hospitality allowance of K20,000, K80,000 as utility allowance, 1000 litres of fuel, free security, free accommodation and one official vehicle.

President Mutharika, Vice President Chilima and Cabinet Minister in a group photo
President Mutharika, Vice President Chilima and Cabinet Minister in a group photo

At K853.4 per little of diesel it means that fuel alone cost K853,400 for each minister per month while according to an inside source at the Office of the President and Cabinet says that accommodation for ministers and deputies is set at K500,000 per month, security also at K500,000 and motor vehicle maintenance at K200,000 per month.

The whole package adds up to almost K35 million a year and with 20 cabinet members this translates to almost K700 million a year.

In the statement Minister of Information Kondwani Nankhumwa who is also government spokesperson parried the criticisms that the savings that are being made through a lean cabinet of 20 members are being depleted by a ‘big’ number of advisors.

President Arthur Peter Mutharika kept his campaign promise to appoint a lean cabinet but in the process there have been announcements of appointments of a litany of presidential advisors and assistants. 

“Government wishes to dismiss this impression (that the savings are being depleted) as erroneous and an irresponsible mockery of the truth,” said Nankhumwa.

The minister accused those criticizing government as lacking information on both the ministerial perks and those for the advisors and assistants.

After giving out a breakdown of the ministerial perks Nankhumwa went ahead to give out the salaries of seven of the nine advisors and special assistants so far appointed.

He said the first category of Chief Advisors at Grade D/P2 goes home with a monthly salary of K402,441 per month and this comprises of Francis Mphepo as Chief Political Advisor, former Malawi Broadcasting Corporation boss Bright Malopa as Chief Advisor on Communication and Strategy andDr. Collins Magalasi as Chief Economic Advisor.

 The statement says that those in Grade D/P2 are entitled to a vehicle for self driving.

On the next tier are special advisors Symon Vuwa Kaunda for National Unity and Parliamentary Affairs, Nick Masebo on Youth and Wiktor Songazaudzu Sajeni on Capacity Building and at Grade E/P3, their salaries are at K352,910 per month.

Another special advisor at Grade E/P4 is Annie Makuta on Women whose salary is at K308,505 per month.

However the release has not divulged the salaries for two special assistants Ben Phiri and Mavuto Bamusi who also appear on the list.

One of the advisors who attracted criticism is Malopa who most people argued that the President does not need an advisor for communication and strategy since he already has a full ministry of information as well as a Press Secretary and his deputy and several press officers.

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