Malawi president takes Coronavirus pay cut

Malawi president, Peter Mutharika, and members of his cabinet are taking a 10% pay cut for three months to raise money to tackle the coronavirus outbreak.

President Mutharika made the announcement as he set out a stimulus package to help cushion the ravages of the pandemic.

Malawi, one of the poorest countries on the planet, declared a state of emergency after reporting its first cases of the coronavirus on Thursday. The four confirmed cases so far have all been linked to travellers from the UK.

There is no lockdown but schools are closed and the government says it is urging people to work from home and follow hand-washing and social-distancing guidelines, BBC writes.

All social gatherings of more than 100 people, such as funerals, church services and political rallies, have been banned in a bid to curb the spread of the disease.

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.

Reuters news agency reports 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.

He also said that an extra 2,000 health workers would be recruited.

Tobacco is Malawi’s main export and the president said that all tobacco markets would remain open to maintain foreign currency earnings and keep farmers in business, Reuters reports.

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