Malawi President Joyce Banda on Monday said her government will not bow down to demands from members of Parliament (MPs) to get K10 million (about $27 777) each as fuel allowance arrears, saying the economy cannot afford that.
The National Assembly has 193 MPs, which means the total amount paid would add up to K1.9 billion (about $5.3 million).
Banda made the remarks during a rally she addressed after inspecting crops in the area of Traditional Authority Makata in Lunzu, Blantyre.
She said: “The economy of Malawi is in a mess and MPs should not expect to receive K10 million each because there are a lot of people living in desperate conditions and need the money more. What is the justification for MPs to receive such huge amounts of money when most Malawians are food insecure and living in poverty?”
The President also dismissed her purported resignation letter due to pressure of work, arguing that she was chosen by God to lead this country from economic deterioration and poverty; hence, she would not leave Malawians in economic turmoil.
“I would also like to take this opportunity to refute the claims that I will resign. I was sworn in after the 2009 elections as a Vice-President and after the death of Bingu wa Mutharika, I am leading the country. I will not leave the presidential position until there is less poverty and the economy has improved,” she said.
On the crop inspection tour reminscent of Malawi’s founding president the late Hastings Kamuzu Banda, the President said there is need for more investment in agriculture because the sector is the major contributor to foreign exchange earnings in the country.
She said crop diversification is also important.
Minister of Agriculture and Food Security Peter Mwanza said he was happy with the crop inspection, saying it showed Banda’s dedication to the improvement of the economy through agriculture.
He said the ministry would continue to encourage farmers to grow various crops and diversify crops for food security in the country.