BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost)—As Malawian truck drivers are still on strike, demanding better working conditions, the government through its spokesperson Gospel Kazako has challenged transporters that the government has capacity to import the commodity on its own.
Addressing the media in Lilongwe today Thursday, Kazako said was surprised over the continued strike by truck drivers in the country cognizant of the fact that issues that the drivers are raising were already resolved and made into law.
He feels there is sabotage playing part in the drivers’ strike.
Kazako says people are unnecessarily stretching government without knowing that it can buy even 500 plus trucks to start importing goods on its own.
He says President Lazarus Chakwera will remain a servant leader and will assist Malawians who are sailing through numerous challenges which have been there from years back.
On reports that some truck drivers have been arrested Kazako says he office is yet to get report on that.
“If some have been arrested it means that they went on the wrong side of the law,” he said.
Malawian truck drivers are asking the government to back their demand for a K140, 000 and their strike has seen the country facing fuel crisis.
Truck drivers have complained that despite government setting a minimum wage of K140,000, employees are not adhering to the directive as the drivers are still being paid K40,000.
The drivers are also concerned that they are required to present certificates of negative Covid-19 test every time they travel but they pay $50 (K40,000) to get tested.
Truck owners under Transporters Association of Malawi and Fuel Transporters Association of Malawi also joined the strike yesterday demanding government to stop giving the majority of contracts to foreign companies.
On Wednesday, some of the striking drivers were arrested by police officers.
The strike has led to shortage of fuel in filling stations across the country.
Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA) said yesterday that there is fuel in reserves and efforts were being made to address the fuel stockouts.
Following concerns over the fuel shortage, government last night reminded truck owners to comply with the K140,000 minimum wage for truck drivers
Government also gazetted a law reducing a 48-page passport fee for cross-border truck drivers from K120,000 to K60,000 while the Ministry of Health ordered that all truck drivers who cross borders should be testing for Covid-19 free of charge.