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Saulos Chilima’s entourage to US at 15

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The Office of the Vice President has said Vice President Saulos Chilima will travel to the United States (US) later this month with an entourage of 15 people.

Initially, a leaked list of the entourage of Chilima’s attendance to the 2022 United Nations (UN) Economic and Social Council (Ecosoc) Forum for Financing Development in New York, US, at the weekend had indicated that the veep was to travel with a 40-member contingent.

The contingent, according to the leaked list, included five special assistants to the Vice President, 12 security officers, two accounts officials, four media personnel and Ministry of Finance and Foreign Affairs officials.

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But, in a statement Monday, Chilima’s spokesperson Pilirani Phiri said the Vice President has been delegated by President Lazarus Chakwera to represent him and lead the Malawi delegation along with officials from the Ministry of Finance and other sectors.

The four-day forum is scheduled for April 25 to 28 2022.

“The Vice President’s office will have an entourage of 15. Some of the side engagements that the Vice President is expected to have while in New York include a meeting with the current chair of Ecosoc.

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“The Vice President is also expected to have meetings with the acting Representative of the Office of Least Developed Countries and the UNDP Global Administrator,” Phiri said.

Asked which officials from the leaked list had been dropped, Phiri said he could not comment on the leaked list.

“That’s our statement sir. I am not commenting on anything that the Office of the Vice President did not issue. Thank you,” Phiri said.

According to Phiri, Chilima has also been requested to deliver a keynote statement at a high level Leaders Dialogue on Green and Climate Resilience Bonds organised by United Nations Capital Development Fund, before returning to Malawi on April 30.

Meanwhile, Centre for Social Accountability and Transparency Executive Director Willie Kambwandira has hailed Chilima for taking a lean entourage to the US.

“It is good that the office of the Vice President has listened to the public outcry and trimmed the entourage.

“We expect the President and his vice to demonstrate prudence in managing our taxes. They should seriously be seen sharing the pain with Malawians. We expect them to adjust their lifestyles in the face of economic hardships as they ought to walk the talk,” Kambwandira said.

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