Malawi president to sell controversial jet

2012-06-08 22:11
Malawian President Joyce Banda says her cash-strapped government will sell the presidential jet controversially bought by her predecessor. (File, AP)

Malawian President Joyce Banda says her cash-strapped government will sell the presidential jet controversially bought by her predecessor. (File, AP)

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Blantyre - Malawian President Joyce Banda on Friday said her cash-strapped government will sell the presidential jet controversially bought by her predecessor.

Banda announced the decision to sell the $13.3m aircraft was "in line with my vision for economic recovery and also to demonstrate to Malawians that I am prepared to make sacrifices alongside them as they grapple with the effects of the ... devaluation of [the national currency] the kwacha."

"The cabinet has agreed that we must sell the presidential jet. I don't even know why we need one," she was quoted as saying from London by the state-run Malawi News Agency.

Banda, 69, was addresing the Royal African Society and Britain's All Party Parliamentary Group after attending the diamond jubilee of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II.

The no-nonsense president, who prefers to be called Mrs Banda, succeeded late president Bingu wa Mutharika after he died from a heart attack begin April.

Since taking over, she has launched a number of reforms to lure back international donors, whose funds her government depends on.

These include a national austerity drive and floating the national currency against the dollar to end a shortage of foreign currency that has left Malawi unable to import enough fuel to keep the nation running.

Part of the cost-cutting schemes is getting rid of luxury vehicles and the plane, symbols of power and status in this poor nation where nearly 40% of the 13 million people scrape by on less than a dollar a day.

Banda has drawn up an economic strategy to "establish an economic recovery programme to deal with current challenges of economic governance and help stabilise the economy."

This includes developing a more diversified and productive economic model which will reinstate traditional drivers of growth that could generate foreign exchange.

Read more on:    joyce banda  |  bingu wa mutharika  |  malawi  |  southern africa
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