Among measures to curb expenditure, President Lazarus Chakwera has implemented immediate restrictions on international travel for himself and all Malawi government officials.
Additionally, ministers abroad have been instructed to return home, and local travel is now subject to limitations. Fuel allocation for cabinet ministers and senior officials has been halved as part of these measures, which are set to be in effect until March 2024.
During the Covid pandemic, similar austerity measures were introduced but faced limited enforcement.
The president is now pressing the finance minister to include a reasonable wage increase for civil servants in the upcoming budget review. Moreover, he has directed a reduction in income tax to ease the financial strain on individuals coping with income devaluation.
These initiatives align with the International Monetary Fund’s recent approval of a four-year credit facility, totaling $174 million.
This approval comes shortly after a 44% devaluation of the local currency, a move analysts speculate may have been a prerequisite for securing the IMF credit facility.