President Peter Mutharika of Malawi and all government ministers are taking a 10 percent pay cut for three months to raise money to respond to the novel coronavirus outbreak.
Local media reported that Mutharika made the announcement while revealing a stimulus package to mitigate the economic impact of COVID-19, the potentially deadly disease caused by the coronavirus.
79-year-old leader became president in 2014 but his re-election last year was cancelled in February after judges found there had been widespread irregularities.
Last Thursday Malawi reported its first coronavirus case, and the country now has four confirmed cases in total linked to people traveling from the United Kingdom.
The country has taken some containment measures to beat coronavirus. Schools are closed and the government has urged people to work from home to prevent the spread of the deadly bug.
In addition, all social gatherings of more than 100 people have been banned, including political rallies and church services.
However, Tobacco, which is Malawi’s main export will remain operational. Reuters quoted the president as saying that all tobacco markets would remain open to maintain foreign currency earnings and keep farmers in business, Reuters reports.
BBC reported that “Mr Mutharika earns about $3,600 (£3,000) a month but no figure was given for how much money would be raised by the pay cut for all ministers.”
The report added that “as part of the stimulus package, the president announced a series of tax breaks for businesses, a reduction in fuel prices and an increase in risk allowances for health workers, Reuters news agency reports”, adding that an extra 2,000 health workers would be recruited.