President Edgar Lungu of Zambia has reportedly requested for his salary to be halved.
This move is part of austerity measures led by the government in a bid to strengthen the country’s ailing economy. Zambia’s economy has been in turmoil following the fall of the copper, its main source of income.
Copper accounts for at least 70% of Zambia’s export income. Also with the fall of commodity prices, the southern African country is struggling with a weak currency and budget deficits. Economic growth also fell from 5% in 2014 to 3.2% in 2015.
President Lungu’s salary currently stands at $45,000 a month. Xinhua reported Vice-President Inonge Wina as saying to the parliament that the president is seeking for his salary to be reduced by half, at least.
“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,” VP Wina said.
However, a lawmaker questioned the President austere decision to cut his salary and the alleged purchase of more than 45 GX vehicles for newly appointed ministers.
VP Wina dismissed them as being false 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.
Although President Edgar Lungu’s salary cut seems like the right thing to do in a collapsing economy, some opposition members have dismissed it as delusional.
Lusaka Times reported the Green Party president, Peter Sinkamba, as saying that the cut means nothing to Zambians.
He said that despite being in support of the salary cut, it would have no impact on the economy.