President Peter Mutharika on Saturday has directed the Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA) to reduce fuel prices with immediate effect and Treasury to reduce salaries of the President, Cabinet ministers and their deputies by 10 percent for three months and direct the resources to fight against the coronavirus.
Mutharika said this in a special address to the nation of Saturday evening monitored by Nyasa Times on State broadcaster Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) .
“We are not alone in these tragic times. The whole world is under attack from this deadly virus. Many countries are struggling, many people are suffering and many are dying across the world,” Mutharika pointed out.
He said the reduction of fuel is intended to “reduce transport costs” and cushion the poor as coronavirus crisis spread.
Mutharika has also instructed the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) to open up a voluntary tax compliance window for a period of six month to allow tax payers with arrears to settle their tax obligations in installments without penalty.
The Malawi leader also said Treasury should provide a special fund to Agriculture Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) to buy agricultural produce at competitive prices.
The President has also said government will establish a relief fund through which well-wishers, companies and individuals can support the fights against Covid-19.
Other measures Mutharika unveiled were tax waivers in importation of essensial goods for coronavirus management.
“These include personal protective equipemt, hand sanitisers, soap, water treatment chemicals,” he said.
He also announced a waive of non tourism levy to support the tourism industry and a waive of resident tax on all foreign doctors and medical personnel.
“I announced that we now have confirmed cases of the Coronavirus disease. The virus has attacked us. Now we have a fourth confirmed case in Blantyre. An attack on one of us is an attack on us all. This is an attack we must all fight,” said Mutharika.
He also directed the Ministry of Health to recruit 2,000 health workers to assist in the fight of the pandemic.
“We need more soldiers and human power in this fight,” said the Malawi leader.
He also directed treasury to increase the risk allowances for our health workers as a matter of urgency.
“The welfare of health care workers is our welfare. Their safety is our safety.”
Mutharika also said government will increase Nutrition Allowance payable to civil servants with foundational medical conditions by 50 percent.
Other measures is to reduce fees and charges on all electronic money transactions in order to promote use of electronic money transactions.
Mutharika said government shall continue to monitor the implementation of the new and existing measures and review the situation as it develops, warning that “more comprehensive measures may be imposed.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :