Here are new measures directed by President Mutharika to cushion against Coronavirus negative impact

Written by  MBC Online

President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika on Saturday announced more measures to be implemented with immediate effect in order to cushion the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, which is set to ruin economies across the globe. The measures are:

President Mutharika's new measures seek to save lives of Malawians and cushion them from negative impact of Coronavirus pandemic. President Mutharika's new measures seek to save lives of Malawians and cushion them from negative impact of Coronavirus pandemic.
05
April


SHIFTS

.In order to decongest work places, all offices shall work in shifts with the exception of those working in essential services. In the public sector, the Chief Secretary to the Government will issue a circular to provide guidelines while for the private and other sectors, the heads of institutions shall liaise with the Secretary responsible for Labour for guidelines.

 

SUSPENSION OF MEETINGS, GATHERINGS, ADEQUTE VENTILATION


.All formal meetings, gatherings and conferences are suspended forthwith;

 

.All places, buildings and structures with public access shall ensure that there is adequate ventilation during all periods the public has access to those places, buildings and structures;

 

.All employers shall allow vulnerable employees, including those with underlying medical conditions, to work from or stay at home.

 

DECONGESTION OF PRISONS


.In order to decongest our prisons, I direct the Malawi Prison Services and Juvenile Centres to present a list of prisoners and juveniles who committed petty offences and those who have served a significant portion of their sentences for moderate crimes to the Minister of Homeland Security for processing of their release;

 

.I am further directing all affected line Ministries and Local Councils to ensure that they have consulted and engaged their stakeholders such as vendors, market leaders, religious leaders, chiefs and the private sector to agree on sector specific measures and submit them to the Cabinet Committee for my approval within the next 72 hours.

 

PROTECTION OF JOBS, INCOMES, BUSINESSES

 

.The Coronavirus attack has a huge negative impact on the economy and businesses everywhere. There are many business people and industry players who are uncertain about the situation as it is unfolding. I know that everyone is worried.

 

.Therefore, Government will take measures to protect jobs and incomes, protect businesses and ensure continuity of the supply chain and the survival of the economy.

 

.Let us remember one thing. Malawi’s economy has its own unique characteristics. We are not any other country.

 

.At the same time, the situation we have is unprecedented to everyone. With Coronavirus, there are no models except us.

 

.Therefore, it is extremely important that we must be engaging and listening to one another very carefully.

 

.Government must listen to the private sector and the private sector must listen to us – just as I urge employers and employees to listen to one another.

 

.Consequently, I urge the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Industry and Trade as well as the Reserve Bank to constantly keep engaging and listening to the private sector as we develop and review various measures.

 

.Our goal is to protect the private sector, no matter how informal it may be, because our economy cannot survive without the private sector.

 

REDUCTION OF FUEL PRICES


.Today, I am directing the Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA) to reduce fuel prices with immediate effect. This move is intended to reduce transport cost.

 


REDUCTION OF PRESIDENT’S, MINISTERS SALARIES

 

.I am also directing the Treasury to do the following:

 

.Reduce salaries of the President, Cabinet Ministers and Deputy Ministers by 10 percent for three months and direct the resources to the fight against the Coronavirus;

 

TAX COMPLIANCE WINDOW

 

.Instruct the Malawi Revenue Authority to open up a voluntary tax compliance window for a period of six months to allow tax payers with arrears to settle their tax obligations in installments without penalty;

 

.Provide a special fund to ADMARC to buy agricultural produce at competitive prices;

 


RELIEF FUND, TAX WAIVERS, TOURISM  LEVY

 

.Establish a Relief Fund through which well-wishers, companies and individuals can support the fight against Coronavirus;

 

.Apply tax waivers on importation of essential goods for Coronavirus management. These include personal protective equipment, hand sanitizers, soaps, water treatment chemicals and many more;

 

.Waive tourism levy to support the tourism industry;

 

.Waive non-resident tax on all foreign doctors and medical personnel;

 

INCREASE MEDF LOANS ALLOCATION TO K15 BILLION, REDUCE FEES ON ELELCTRONIC MONEY TRANSACTIONS

 

.Increase the MEDF loans allocation from K13 billion to K15 billion in order to help Micro, Small and Medium Scale businesses that have been seriously affected by the pandemic;

 

.Increase Nutrition Allowance payable to civil servants with foundational medical conditions by 50 percent;

 

.Reduce fees and charges on all electronic money transactions in order to promote use of electronic money transactions;

 

RECRUITMENT OF 2,000 HEALTH WORKERS


.I am also directing the Ministry of Health to recruit 2,000 health workers to assist in the fight of the pandemic. We need more soldiers and human power in this fight.

 

.I am directing Treasury to increase the risk allowances for our health workers as a matter of urgency. The welfare of healthcare workers is our welfare. Their safety is our safety.

 

.I am directing the Ministry of Agriculture to ensure that Auction Holdings Limited functions normally to operate the tobacco marketing season and protect tobacco farmers.

 

DIRECTIVES ON RESERVE BANK, MALAWI CONFEDERATION OF CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE

 

I am also directing Reserve Bank to:

 

.Implement a win-win arrangement with commercial banks and Micro-Finance Institutions to observe a three-month moratorium on interest and principal repayments for all loans contracted by Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises. Under this arrangement the Registrar will encourage commercial banks to restructure loans to this sector in order to extend their repayment to more than a year;

 

.Cushion the foreign exchange market to ensure availability of forex and stability of the foreign exchange rate;

 

.Activate an Emergency Liquidity Assistance framework to support banks in the event of worsening liquidity conditions and to provide support to banks on a case by case basis.

 

.I am also directing Government to discuss with Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the Tourism Association of Malawi for win-win arrangements that will ensure that there are no redundancies in companies.

 

.As we speak, I have discussed with SADC, COMESA and other regional trade blocks as well as neighbouring countries to ensure smooth transportation and importation of essential goods and raw materials into Malawi.

 

PROTECTION OF CONSUMERS

 

.Finally, I hereby direct the Competition and Fair Trading Commission to increase surveillance and protect consumers from anyone who wants to unfairly increase prices of essential goods. People who intend to take advantage of our current situation will be punished. I will not allow anyone to take advantage of Coronavirus attack to exploit consumers.

 

.Government shall continue to monitor the implementation of these new and existing measures and review the situation as it develops. More comprehensive measures may be imposed.

 

THANK YOU DEVELOPMENT PARTNERS


.I want to thank Development Partners for your support and standing with us as a country. Most of you are serving Malawians when your own families and loved ones are in equally demanding situations in your home countries. I appreciate your sacrifice.

 

.In conclusion, I would like us to unite and stand steadfast in these trying times. Together, we can win the war against Coronavirus. Let us not politicize this pandemic.

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