By Nenenji Mlangeni
LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-President Lazarus Chakwera’s Tonse administration seems to be insensitive and naive with the needs of Malawians in just six months in power.
How could Chakwera allow his administration meeting the needs of Members of Parliament by increasing their salaries to MK949,000.00?
MPs have increased their allowances by about MK1.1 million with each MP now getting MK2.2 million in allowances on top of a salary of MK949,000.
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, 2020.
According to the published report, MPs were getting MK862 400 in basic salary plus MK200, 000 housing allowance, MK400,000 constituency allowance, MK250 000 for motor vehicle maintenance, MK150 000 for hospitality allowance and MK150 000 for utility bills.
The allowances have been doubled and are now totaling MK2.2 million with the basic pay increased to MK948 640.00
In the 2019/20 budget, allocation for salaries for Parliament was at MK2.4 billion but has been increased to MK3.4 billion in the 2020/21 budget. Allowances have more than doubled from MK2.2 billion to MK5.01 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.
Chakwera being the head of state has powers to control willy nilly public expenditures the same of lawmakers decision of increasing their salaries while Malawi is still struggling economically.
What you will hear from Chakwera is, “I’m a law a biding President, let the law take its course”.
Is Chakwera in control or is being dictated?