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DPP doubts austerity measures

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Gospel Kazako

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has doubted the expenditure control measures set by the government to cushion Malawi’s ailing economy saying they have been tried before but never bore fruits.

The remarks by DPP’s Vice President for the Northern Region Goodall Gondwe, were made in Mzuzu Sunday during a political rally which was conducted at Katoto ground.

President Lazarus Chakwera announced the austerity measures last week Tuesday which included that public officers will only be allowed to take not more than three foreign trips during the remainder of the year, unless unforeseen circumstances.

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The President also said the number of people in a delegation travelling abroad will be subjected to stringent restrictions and that allocations of fuel allowance for all Cabinet members is to be cut by 20 percent.

But Gondwe said the measures are not new and cannot bring anything tangible.

“What Chakwera has directed is not new he did not think about them. These are issues that Kamuzu took at one time, I know some of you were young at that time but he even took away vehicles from ministers, but the expenditure was not reduced all that much. So first all the measures that he has announced were good ones but they were measures that were taken before without much success,” he said.

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Gondwe then said the government should come out clear and explain presidential expenditure on foreign and local trips.

He was making reference to the recent trip by President Chakwera in Switzerland and Equatorial Guinea where State House said he used about K300 million .

Gondwe said the money is not a true reflection.

“I have done those before I know what I am saying. That time in the 1970s I was secretary to the treasury every time when the president was going out on local trips he was using not less than K13 million,” he said.

He added that this was the time the president should have reduced his salary just like former President

But commenting on the issues raised government spokesperson, Gospel Kazako said the measures have been put in place to realign the current structural fabric of the state of the economy but also to practically demonstrate that he is aware and in control the situation

“Which DPP was saying this. Much as we are to respond to concerns from the opposition, it is increasingly becoming difficult to know who we are responding to Is it the DPP led by the Hon Leader of Opposition? Or is it the DPP led by the Former Head of State? There are several DPPs. We are asking  this because there is also a DPP that agrees with austerity measures President Chakwera has put in place to realign with the current structural fabric of the state of the economy but also to practically demonstrate that he is aware and in control the situation.

“The people that were at the said gathering are part of the gang that massacred this country without sympathy or remorse. They are a representation of plunder. There live symbols of the period got broken. It is very toxic to listen to such voices. We are rebuilding Malawi and we have adequate intellectual capital and other resources to assist the process,” he said.

Other speakers during the rally included George Chaponda, Dalitso Kabambe DPP regional governor for the North Ackim Mwanza and also Christopher Mzomera Ngwira., who also raised concerns on the economic landscape of the country.

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