LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-Malawi Congress of Trade Union (MCTU) and Centre For Social Concern (CFSC) on Friday, June 19, 2020 teared apart the 2020/2021 national saying continues to favour elite leaving low income earners grappling with abject poverty.
The financial plan which is pegged at MK2.023 trillion has been described as lost opportunity towards the poor’s welfare.
In a joint press conference, MCTU and CFSC expressed worrisome over static minimum wage of MK35,000 against living wage or costing of living at MK194,000 monthly.
Despite that the national plan has proposed MK40,000 increase, the two organisation observed that the hike is non-starter.
MCTU Secretary General Denis Kalekeni says for a decade the national budget has not favored low income earners, workers.
Kalekeni wondered as to why minimum wage should be revised every three years when costing of living continues to rise daily.
He therefore urged government to revise the budget including scraping off Value Added Tax (VAT) on food items, reducing water and electricity tariffs.
“This budget is a missed opportunity to transform low income earners including civil servants, domestic workers lives for better.
“If indeed the budget is pro-poor, let minimum wage be revised to MK100,000 to at least tarry with costing of living at MK194,000 monthly,” urges Kalekeni.
CFSC Director, Father James Ngahy observed that current minimum wage cannot support to buy food that provide adequate nutrition and buy essential household needs.
Fr Ngahy said the minimum wage in Malawi is the lowest as compared to other countries within the region.
He therefore called for urgent need to undertake initiatives aimed at social and economic transformation.
“Given this situation, if Malawi has to move forward, then this unacceptable prevailing social-economic state of affairs should be addressed. The poor people are facing numerous social economic challenges due to post 2019 elections and global pandemic of Covid-19.
“An increase in minimum wage is one of the initiatives that government must implement for Economic Recovery, Mitigation and Building Resilience,” urges
He adds, “The government through the Minister of Finance maintained minimum wage on 2020/2021 proposed budget. Centre for Social Concerns has noted with concern that that the by maintaining the minimum wage.
“More Malawians will be pushed into poverty bracket, Studies conducted by Centre for Social Concern through Basic Needs Basket findings of 2019 revealed that the cost of living is increasing due to global pandemic and political instability”.
According to 2018 National statistical office about 9 million Malawians are living below poverty line.