Zam­bian leader cuts salary by half

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Worldwide -

LUSAKA — Zam­bian Pres­i­dent Edgar Lungu has re­port­edly asked that his salary be cut by half, as part of the gov­ern­ment-led aus­ter­ity mea­sures.

Ac­cord­ing to Xin­hua.net, this was re­vealed by Deputy Pres­i­dent Inonge Wina.

Wina told par­lia­ment on Fri­day that Lungu would re­duce his monthly salary which was cur­rently pegged at $45 000 a month by at least 50 per­cent.

She said that the Lungu-led gov­ern­ment was se­ri­ous about re­viv­ing the strug­gling South­ern African coun­try’s econ­omy.

“This gov­ern­ment is com­mit­ted to en­forc­ing aus­ter­ity mea­sures and the pres­i­dent is the first na­tional of the coun­try to de­clare that even his salary be cut in half so that the coun­try can ob­serve that we have to make sac­ri­fices as lead­ers,” Wina was quoted as say­ing.

This came at a time when the south­ern African coun­try’s econ­omy was un­der per­form­ing due to the fall of the its main source of in­come, cop­per.

Zam­bia, de­pended on cop­per for more than 70 per­cent of its ex­port earn­ings, and was among a num­ber of African coun­tries that were cur­rently strug­gling af­ter com­mod­ity prices plunged, lead­ing to weak­ened cur­ren­cies and gap­ing bud­get short­falls.

Eco­nomic ex­pan­sion slowed to 3.2 per­cent last year from 5 per­cent in 2014.

Bloomberg re­ported that the coun­try’s econ­omy was ex­pand­ing at the slow­est pace in 17 years and was rein­ing in a bal­loon­ing bud­get short­fall.

Mean­while, ac­cord­ing to Lusaka Times, Wina faced a tough time when an op­po­si­tion law­maker wanted to know about the gov­ern­ment’s al­leged pur­chas­ing of at least 45 GX ve­hi­cles for newly ap­pointed min­is­ters.

Wina re­port­edly said that these were “un­founded” al­le­ga­tions.

“On the is­sue of buy­ing new ve­hi­cles Mr Speaker, this is news to me. I am hear­ing about this for the first time be­cause even Cabi­net has never con­sid­ered such a pro­posal,” she was quoted as say­ing. — AFP

Edgar Lungu

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