President Lazarus Chakwera Sunday delivered a strong message to his critics that nothing, not even the deadly Covid pandemic, can stop the Tonse administration from implementing its campaign promises.
Addressing Malawians on his 245th day in office, Chakwera said although Covid had delayed implementation of some of the Tonse Administration campaign promises, it would not succeed in stopping the alliance from transforming Malawi.
He was quick to note that the Tonse Administration inherited, on June 28 2020, a government presiding over an economy of falling revenues.
“As announced by my Minister of Finance [Felix Mlusu] in his Mid-Year Budget Review Statement before Parliament two days ago, K600.1 billion was projected to be collected during the first half of the current financial year, yet what we collected fell short of that target by 6 percent. The wilderness we entered 245 days ago is a government presiding over an economy of rising costs. This has also come out clearly in our Mid- Year Budget Review,” Chakwera said.
He said, although coronavirus continued to bite, his administration had planned a number of initiatives to cushion individuals and firms against the economic aftershocks of the pandemic, to revitalise the business sector and to get the country back on track.
“Through the Ministry of Economic Planning and Development, which is led by the Vice-President, Right Honourable Dr Saulos Klaus Chilima, we extended the social cash transfer programme to vulnerable households in peri-urban areas. Two days ago, the first cash payments covering January and February were made to 24,383 households in Blantyre; 21,101 households in Lilongwe; 8,695 households in Mzuzu; and 9,445 households in Zomba.
“This represents 31.3 percent of the 199,640 households that are eligible for assistance under the programme in this first quarter of 2021,” Chakwera said.
He added that the government gazetted an increase in the minimum wage from K35, 000 per month to K50,000 per month for all salaried workers and to K38,000 per month for domestic workers, in addition to increasing the Pay As You Earn zero bracket from K45,000 per month to K100,000 per month, which means that the first K1.2 million of your annual salary will not be taxed.