Public pressure on Malawi President and his Cabinet has forced the ministers to delay a pay rise.
The Cabinet has said “no” to the 168 percent salary increment Treasury announced last week and backdated to October 1 2014.
The Cabinet’s decision comes hot on the heels of negative public reaction to the increment.
The public and social commentators described the raise as unreasonable in the wake of the prevailing economic situation in the country.
President Peter Mutharika and Vice-President Saulos Chilima also said they deferred their increment until the economy improved.
Announcing the Cabinet decision in Lilongwe yesterday, Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe said the Cabinet ministers and their deputies are following in the footsteps of the President and the Vice-President.
Said Gondwe: “To this effect, the ministers whose decision is expected to save about K100 million (about $200 000) will not even claim their arrears whatsoever.”
Last week, our sister newspaper, Weekend Nation, revealed that effective October 1, salaries for members of Parliament (MPs), Cabinet ministers, leader of opposition in Parliament, the President and the Vice-President were increased by 376 percent, 168 percent and 80 percent, respectively.
Reacting to the news on Monday, leader of opposition in Parliament Lazarus Chakwera, who is also Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president, could not indicate whether he would get the increment.
Chakwera called the President a hypocrite and said his government is trying to divert Malawians’ attention from real issues.
However, government spokesperson Kondwani Nankhumwa, who is also Minister of Information, Tourism and Culture, called Chakwera a Pharisee and said Mutharika needed to be given space because he inherited a country on the verge of collapse.
In August this year, Mutharika rejected a 600 percent proposed salary increment for Cabinet ministers and called it unethical.
And last month, he also dismissed salary increment proposals from the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) which, among others, put the Speaker’s salary at K3.3 million (about $6 600) per month.