Malawi's Joyce Banda to auction presidential jet to cut costs


Malawi's new President Joyce Banda gives a press conference on April 10, 2012 in Lilongwe. Banda said she was pinning her hopes on donors to re-open aid taps after she started talking to them on possible resumption of aid frozen over governance and macroeconomic concerns. Banda was sworn in on April 7, 2012 just hours after officials confirmed the death of president Bingu wa Mutharika whose rule had sparked alarms over democratic freedoms and economic mismanagement.


Amos Gumulira

Malawi's President Joyce Banda has invited bids for her 14-seat presidential jet, which is being auctioned to cut costs.

According to BBC News, the plane will be sold to the highest bidder. Banda has refused to travel in the jet since she took office last April.

It was purchased by her predecessor, the late Bingu wa Mutharika, five years ago for $13.3 million. The former president was highly criticized for the purchase, and donors cut $4.4 million in aid because of it.

More from GlobalPost: Joyce Banda sworn in as Malawi's president after Bingu wa Mutharika's death is confirmed

"The bids will be opened and offers read out in the presence of interested buyers or their representatives and any member of the general public on 20 February," the president's office said in a statement, noted Yahoo.

AllAfrica also reported that the proceeds of the sale will go to providing basic services to the country's poor. Banda has put other austerity measures into place as well, including cutting her own salary by 30 percent, to improve relations with western donors.

Banda's salary is now $42,000, according to the Huffington Post.

"It is a very low salary, but most Malawians are getting just as little as that,” Banda said. "So that's fine, we have a nation to build. Perhaps the next president will get better than that."