Members of Parliament (MPs) have increased their allowances by about K1.1 million with each MP now getting K2.2 million in allowances on top of a salary of K949,000.
The increase is in the 2020/21 national budget passed in September but is effective July.
The Nation newspaper reported that the legislators already started receiving the new pay and arrests in October.
According to the published report, MPs were getting K862 400 in basic salary plus K200, 000 housing allowance, K400,000 constituency allowance, K250 000 for motor vehicle maintenance, K150 000 for hospitality allowance and K150 000 for utility bills.
The allowances have been doubled and are now totaling K2.2 million with the basic pay increased to K948 640.00
In the 2019/20 budget, allocation for salaries for Parliament was at K2.4 billion but has been increased to K3.4 billion in the 2020/21 budget. Allowances have more than doubled from K2.2 billion to K5.01 billion.
One legislator told the newspaper that the 2020/21 budget was passed in Parliament without much scrutiny because of the allowance increase
“The figures were discussed at Parliamentary Service Commission and everybody agreed. Actually, MPs wanted more on allowances. You should ask yourself why allowances have shot that much when the rest of the items have seen marginal increases or decreases,” the MP said.
Meanwhile, Malawians have faulted the legislators for increasing their salaries under the current economic situation.
“Malawi sometimes feels like a carcass and all those claiming to fight for the poor are carrion birds whose only interest is to chomp whatever they can of the carcass,” said social commentator Onjezani Kenani in a Facebook post.
One commenter on the post, Chawa Soko, said legislators should not be allowed to review their own salaries.
“Why is it that it is only the Parliament that decides their own salaries. The Judiciary and the Executive only make recommendations which are approved by Parliament. I am of the view that the system could have been made in a way that no arm of government should decide their own benefits. If anything the Judiciary or the Executive could have been mandated with the job of deciding salaries and allowances for the Legislature. Otherwise, Parliament is always abusing their Powers. Shame. Shame. Shame,” Soko said.