Malawi: Minimum wage too low— CfSC

Welfare monitoring body, Centre for Social Concern (CfSC), has faulted Finance Minister Sosten Gwengwe for maintaining the minimum wage at K50,000 per month, saying the decision will push more Malawians into the poverty bracket.

CfSC Director James Ngahy said this in Lilongwe on Friday when the organisation presented its assessment of the 2022-23 National Budget Statement which Finance Minister Sosten Gwengwe presented to Parliament two weeks ago.

According to Ngahy, studies which CfSC conducted through its monthly 2021 Basic Needs Basket (BnB), revealed that the cost of living has been increasing monthly, from K164,000 in June 2021 to K236,000 in January 2022.

“Therefore, the current minimum wage of K50,000 is not enough to support households to buy food that provides adequate nutrition as well as buy essential household needs.

“The centre proposes a minimum wage of K100,000 in line with the food poverty line, which is above K100,000,” he said.

He said CfSC believes that an increase in minimum wage would support the majority of Malawians who are in the poverty trap.

“Poor Malawians are greatly affected by the global pandemic of Covid and the negative effects of post-election demonstrations. It is, therefore, imperative to formulate a budget that will also cushion the poor people of Malawi.

“We, as a country, also need to put a deliberate policy to cushion low income earners, ‘proletariats’, who are struggling to survive during this pandemic period,” Ngahy said.

Gwengwe was not immediately available for comment yesterday but, speaking when he presented the budget statement some two weeks ago, he said the government remained committed to improving the living standards of Malawians.

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