Malawi's President Ban All Foreign Travels For Himself And Cabinet

Mr Chakwera has also directed that all ministers who are currently abroad return home.
President Chakwera of Malawi
President Chakwera of Malawi BBC

Malawi's President Lazarus Chakwera has suspended all international travel for himself and his government with immediate effect in order to save money.

The move comes as Malawi seeks a loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to help the country's struggling economy.

Mr Chakwera has also directed that all ministers who are currently abroad return home.

Senior government officials' fuel allowances have been cut by half.

Malawi's economy has been in turmoil, with an acute shortage of gasoline and diesel, as well as high inflation.

Mr Chakwera stated in a televised address that the measures would be in place until the end of the fiscal year in March 2024.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, similar austerity measures were announced but had little impact because they were not strictly enforced.

As part of efforts to alleviate the cost-of-living crisis, the president has asked the finance minister to include provisions in the next budget review for a reasonable wage increase for all civil servants.

In the upcoming budget, he has also ordered a reduction in individual income tax to assist workers whose earnings have reduced.

The IMF approved a four-year credit facility worth $174 million (£140 million) just days after Malawi's central bank announced a 44% depreciation of the kwacha.

Analysts believe the devaluation was a requirement for obtaining the IMF credit facility.

Some worry that the currency depreciation will raise prices and potentially worsen Malawians' financial woes, as it did a decade ago.

External factors, such as a devastating cyclone earlier this year and the war in Ukraine, have been blamed by officials for the collapse of the economy.

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