Zambia President Edgar Lungu, ministers announce 20% pay cut
London, Dec. 30, 2019 (AltAfrica)- Zambian President Edgar Lungu has cut his salary and those of senior cabinet ministers as higher electricity and fuel prices take effect, his office said.
Edgar Lungu borrowed a leaf from his Kenyan counterpart, Uhuru Kenyatta who in May 2014, announced that he and Deputy William Ruto were taking a 20 percent pay cut in a move aimed at curbing the ballooning public wage bill.
President Kenyatta also asked Cabinet Secretaries to take a 10 percent pay cut.
Lungu’s announcement is seen as a tact to reduce public outrage amid soaring fuel and electricity prices in his country by almost a hundred percent.
The price of petrol gained 10% to 17.62 kwacha ($1.27) per litre on Thursday, while that for diesel fuel rose by 9.6% to 15.59 kwacha.
The cost of electricity is to soar by 115% starting January 1.
The stiff hikes for electricity and fuel have sparked an uproar on social media where many Zambians vented their anger.
The cut in the president’s salary and those of senior ministers is in the range of 15 to 20%.
“The money realised will go into cushioning the impact on the vulnerable in society,” Lungu’s press aide Isaac Chpampe explained.
Lungu added he was aware of the suffering the Zambians were going through as a result of the tariff hikes but expressed confidence that the economy would rebound in 2020 owing to measures that the government has put in place.
They include reducing travel by senior government officials.
Landlocked Zambia exclusively relies on South Africa and Tanzania for imports and has suffered economically since the fall in copper exports and prices of the precious commodity. AP