NGO wants 100 percent minimum wage hike
By Cathy Maulidi
Ahead of the 2023-24 budget presentation by Minister of Finance Sosten Gwengwe, the Centre for Social Concern (CfSC) has called for an inclusive budget and a hike of the minimum wage from the current K50,000 to K100,000.
Gwengwe is expected to present the budget on March 2 2023
CfSC Executive Director James Ngahy told journalists in Lilongwe Monday that the centre wants the budget to also focus on addressing poverty, food insecurity and debt management problems.
“This budget should have a progressive vision.
“CfSC hopes that the standards of living of an individual Malawian will not continue to be the same as it was in the last financial year.
We need to see a difference. We need to learn from mistakes and we must move forward and not backwards,” Ngahy said.
CfSC has also added its voice to calls by stakeholders that government should devise an exit strategy of the Affordable Inputs Programme.
Ngahy said Malawians expect the budget to prioritise agricultural development projects to improve productivity and promote the development of structured markets.
On the minimum wage, he said an increase is necessary as the gap between the cost of living and the wage is “very wide”.
“According to reports produced by the centre, through the Basic Needs Basket, the cost of living in January 2023 was K356,000.
“The centre believes that the low minimum wage is not necessarily due to performance of our economy but, rather, total negligence and maintenance of exploitive policies,” the CfSC boss said.
He also cautioned government against excessive borrowing in the coming budget.
During budget consultation meetings that he held last month, Gwengwe indicated that Malawians deserve a conducive and enabling environment that guarantees wealth creation, job creation and food security.
Gwengwe also challenged stakeholders who provided their inputs to think about where resources for some of their demands would come from.
The minister still promised to deliver an inclusive budget that “will work for all Malawians”.
He also asked people in the country to avoid looking at the budget as expenditure only, without looking at where the revenue would come from.
“Over the years, you have seen that there has been misalignment of what we get as revenue and what we spend, and this has created a gap in our budget to an extent that our budget deficits have continued to grow, forcing government to indulge in borrowing just to make sure that the budget is implemented,” Gwengwe said.