Malawi’s President Lazarus Chakwera has suspended all foreign trips for himself and other government officials in his administration.
He disclosed this move on national television on Wednesday night, describing it as a part of strict measures to resuscitate the Malawian economy.
The President also ordered that all ministers who are currently outside the country return home, adding that the suspension will be active till March 2024.
“Any travel deemed absolutely necessary by anyone during that period must be submitted to my office for my personal authorisation,” Chakwera said.
The Malawian leader also unveiled a variety of austerity measures, including cutting by 50 percent fuel entitlements for cabinet ministers and senior government officials.
Local media reported that Chakwera has faced criticism over his frequent foreign travel, forcing him to resort to the new move, as he said he would lead by example by curtailing his travel plans.
He also cancelled his attendance at the COP28 climate change conference in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates later this month.
As part of the measures, he also directed the minister of finance to include provisions for a reasonable wage increase for all civil servants in the midyear budget review.
And he ordered a lowering of income tax on individuals, so that workers whose incomes have lost value are helped with a “lower tax burden”.
Malawi, an East African nation is grappling with an economic crisis that has led to fuel shortages, inflated food prices, and a shortage of foreign exchange.