There is a new twist to the demand for fuel allowance arrears by Malawian Members of Parliament with the lawmakers now planning to seek court’s intervention to stop President Banda from publicly commenting on the matter.

The lawmakers are accusing President Banda of creating misconceptions on the issue after the President openly declared the government was not ready to pay them K10 million to each MP for the fuel allowance arrears.

But in an interview with the media, Mr. Edwin Banda a member of a task force pressing government to settle the amount said each MP is to receive K5 million not K10 million.

“The Mps are indeed demanding fuel allowance arrears but not a hike in the allowances. The amount is K 5.2 million for each entitled MP,” said Mr. Edwin Banda, member of a task team formulated to handle the issue at hand.

He said not all the 193 legislators are entitled to the pay. In his calculations, Mr. Banda said only about a 140 law makers are entitled to the arrears as the figure excludes Minister and their deputies.

“The number of MPs that are supposed to get the payment is not 193 as reported earlier, we have about 40 ministers and their deputies who are currently receiving their fuel allowances and they are therefore not entitled to the pay,” he said.

Though this might be the case, roughly Malawi treasury would still have to cough over K 728 million.

The money is enough to run a government department for a year, for example the forestry department. Perhaps this is why the executive seems not ready to pay the money.

Legally the lawmakers are entitled to this money but there is a plea from the public – the people they serve – to use moral judgment that this is not the right time to demand the arrears in the wake of the current economic crisis.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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