Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) says President Lazarus Chakwera should show that he cares about Malawians by implementing austerity measures such as reducing travel, cutting his salary and trimming his Cabinet and crowd of advisors.
The organisation has released a statement in which it has expressed concern over the suffering of Malawians due to increase in cost of living.
CDEDI Executive Director Sylvester Namiwa said the rising cost of living is being mirrored through skyrocketing prices of basic essential goods cooking oil, water and electricity, and cost of mobile phone airtime charges, transport and internet bundles.
He added that the recent increase in fuel prices means more misery for the majority of Malawians who expect solutions, and not callous attempts to justify their suffering.
According to Namiwa, Malawi’s fuel prices are the highest in the region due to punitive and unjustifiable taxes and levies which government imposed on the commodity.
He noted that, apart from tax, in Malawi every litre of fuel includes eight levies including regulator levy, road levy, Malawi Bureau of Standards levy and Distribution levy.
On Monday, State House said the President appreciates the pain that has come with the recent fuel price hike, but he does not want to interfere with the independence of Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority which sets fuel prices.
But Namiwa said such remarks are unfortunate and highly insensitive to the suffering masses.
He called on Chakwera to stop the mockery on the suffering masses and start sharing the pain with the masses as per his pledge of servant leadership.
“If the President is sincere, then he should stop being rhetoric and start being seen to care by embracing austerity measures such as cutting down on unnecessary local and international travels; scrapping off unjustifiable fuel levies; trimming his Cabinet and the crowd of personal advisers; cutting his salary and other benefits, and those of top government officials. Among others, the obscene 1 000 liters of fuel per month for Cabinet ministers, advisers and senior government officials disturbingly come to mind.
“While implementing the austerity measures, the President and his Tonse Alliance administration should walk the talk by fulfilling their sugar-coated campaign promises such as the one million jobs; MK15,000 allowances per month for those aged 65 and above; reducing passport fees from MK90,000 to MK14,000; the free water and electricity connection,” said Namiwa.