In a bid to push compliance to a recall order, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation says it will stop paying remuneration to diplomats clinging to their posts despite a directive to return home.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Francis Kasaila said in an interview yesterday the concerned diplomats resisting to return home would also have their diplomatic status stripped off.
The minister spoke in an interview in the wake of reports that some diplomats at Malawi’s foreign missions in South Africa and Brazil have allegedly defied a directive to come home despite several reminders.
The development comes after Treasury released K3 billion specifically for recalls.
Kasaila said contracts for most of the recalled diplomats expired over two years ago.
He said: “We have some diplomats who are still resisting coming back home. They are giving so many reasons, but the position of the ministry is that each diplomat is aware in advance on when their contract is coming to an end and should have prepared for their departure.
“We are enforcing by stopping payment of allowances and in some cases withdrawing diplomatic status.”
From November 2015 to date, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has brought home 82 diplomats whose contracts had expired.
According to Kasaila, the recalling of the diplomats means that foreign service allowance budget has gone down from K1.3 billion a month to K523 million over the same period.
He said: “Further, we are working on trimming of local staff in embassies to a maximum of six per chancery. We need K946 million to pay benefits for those that will be laid off. When this is done, by December we expect to save K2.1 billion.”
In March this year, government announced plans to trim the number of diplomats in embassies from 17 to a maximum of six to cut on expenditure.
Malawi has 19 foreign missions, among them eight in Africa, four in Europe, five in Asia in addition to the United Nations in New York.