Malawi Congress of Trade Union (MCTU) general secretary Denis Kalekeni said he was shocked over the minimum wage that Finance Minister Joseph Mwanamveka proposed to the House on Monday.
Mwanamveka made the proposal when he presented his 2019/20 budget in parliament, where he raised the minimum monthly wage from $34 to $48 – which Kalekeni observed was just too low as a living wage for a family.
Kalekeni said MCTU had proposed that the minimum pay be raised to $100 monthly during pre-budget talks which Mwanamveka held nationwide with stakeholders.
“As MCTU, we have learnt with great shock that the minimum wage has been placed at $48 on the basis that the cost of living in Malawi is quite high. But any person with at least six family members, life will be too tough (earning this pay),” Kalekeni said.
Workers earning the proposed wage would, however, not be required to pay income tax to government. However, the state still slaps value added tax on nearly all items sold in shops.
Parliament is expected to start debating the budget in 12 days, before deciding whether to pass the proposals or not.
Malawi’s per capital income stands at $400 – the lowest in the region, according to Malawi Reserve Bank figures.