Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives-CDEDI describes the Tonse government’s announced austerity measures as mere mockery on the agony of the marginalized and vulnerable Malawians in the absence of tangible cushioning measures amid the high cost of living.
The local governance institution further says the Wednesday fuel increase is “unacceptable, insensitive and an outright attempt to squeeze lives out of millions of poor and ultra-poor Malawians.”
Its Executive Director, Sylvester Namiwa claims the government is working hard to please the International Monetary Fund (IMF), thereby conveniently crucifying millions of vulnerable and marginalized voters who are already struggling to make ends meet due to the ever skyrocketing cost of living.
“Coincidentally, this is coming exactly two years of President Lazarus Chakwera’s regime, and the voters’ memories are still fresh that he promised to resign should he fail to fix the economy within two years of his tenure. This is probably the best time for the President to honour his promise,” says Namiwa.
Last month, President Lazarus Chakwera announced a number of austerity measures meant at cutting down unnecessary public expenditures amidst the struggling economy and the harsh 25 percent kwacha devaluation; a move widely seen as a desperate attempt to coax the IMF to grant the country the Extended Credit Facility.
Among others, Chakwera announced a 20 percent reduction of fuel for cabinet ministers and reduction of travel expenditures.
But Namiwa fears the majority poor will suffer the harsh reality of the rising cost of living if the government fails to come up with realistic cushioning measures for them.
President Chakwera is currently meeting his ministers at Kamuzu Palace to review the austerity measures in the face of the fuel hike and high cost of living, among others.
Recently, four ministers took turns bragging about the government’s saving a whooping K268 billion for the two cancelled presidential trips to Austria and Rwanda.