Thursday, October 4, 2012

Presidential poverty in Malawi ?

The Telegraph reports

Malawi's Joyce Banda takes 30 per cent salary cut

Joyce Banda, the Malawian President, has slashed her salary by 30 per cent to share in the "difficult times" suffered by her countrymen since she dramatically devalued the currency.

The pay cut will see Mrs Banda's salary drop from a reported £37,000 a year to £26,000, while her vice president will see a similar reduction.

Inflation in Malawi reached 25 per cent in August following the May devaluation of the Kwacha by a third, leaving even the previously affluent now struggling to pay for basics such as fuel, bread and sugar.
"I told Malawians we needed to pass through difficult times," the 62-year-old head of state told South Africa's Business Day during a visit to Johannesburg this week. "I even cut my own salary by 30 per cent to show we are making sacrifices.
"It is a very low salary, but most Malawians are getting just as little as that. So that's fine, we have a nation to build. Perhaps the next president will get better than that." The move comes just months after Mrs Banda announced that she would sell off the presidential jet and fleet of luxury cars accumulated by her predecessor Bingu wa Mutharika, who died in office in April this year.

Some key facts
Total population14,901,000 
Gross national income per capita (PPP international $)860
Life expectancy at birth m/f (years)44/51
Probability of dying under five (per 1 000 live births)not available
Probability of dying between 15 and 60 years m/f (per 1 000 population)691/496
Total expenditure on health per capita (Intl $, 2010)65
Total expenditure on health as % of GDP (2010)6.6Figures are for 2009 unless indicated.
 Source: Global Health Observatory

So in fact most Malawians are getting a hell of a lot less than 26,000 pounds or $41,790 US

per year actually they are earning about 2% of the salary of President Banda.

It will be lauded by foreign donors, who provide 40 per cent of Malawi's development budget. But some Malawians remain sceptical, saying that if the president really wanted to cut costs, she would slow down on the "globetrotting" which has seen her take seven trips in just five months in a bid to woo back donors scared away by Mr Mutharika's autocratic leadership.

Actually I have some sympathy for this spending. President Banda has got to get out and do the job perception is not always correct.
Mrs Banda reportedly spent 302m Kwacha (£612,000) taking a 42-strong delegation to the United Nations General Assembly in New York for almost two weeks, before travelling on to an investment summit in South Africa and a European Union meeting in Brussels.

That seems a lot but I suspect it is a lot less than many governments would spend on this sort of exercise.
John Kapito, chairman of Consumers Association of Malawi, told the Telegraph that the salary cut was a "mockery" while Mrs Banda enjoyed free accommodation, food, staff allowances and travel.
"Most Malawians know that they had to endure a certain amount of pain on the journey to recovery but what's confusing for them is that the people at the top are still enjoying the same lifestyles they always had," he said.

Good point. The salary cut is meaningless in real terms. 
Malawi's ministers are now fearful that they could be forced to take similar cuts to their pay and perks.
One, who did not wish to be named, told the Daily Times newspaper: "We are always the victims. They said they want to take away the Mercs we use.
Where in the world do cabinet ministers work without Mercedes Benz cars?
These are cars with speed, that is why we use them."

Yes we use them here well sort of Mercs. , BMW's not much to choose between them.

" The BMW fleet has been controversial and cost about $8 million last year - $500,000 more than usual because of the Rugby World Cup."
That we are questioning there use in one of the world's richest countries might make the 
ministerial " victims " think again. 
Politics is perception. 

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