Malawi Govt asked to bail out private employees on Covid-19 spike

Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) has called upon the government to consider some workers in the private sector to access their money which is stashed at the central bank in form of pension in the face of hard realities of Covid-19 pandemic.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, CDEDI has mentioned teachers in the private learning institutions and some hospitality and tourism industry as an example of private servants who stopped receiving salaries in March and April this year and are finding life hard to cope with in the wake of the global pandemic.

“As we commend government for making sure that teachers in the public institutions are getting their dues, on the contrary, teachers working in the private institutions and some workers in the hospitality industry stopped getting their salaries in March, and others in April, 2020. This means that these people do not have any source of income to feed their families and let alone pay rentals when their funds are lying idle at the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM).

“CDEDI is therefore, calling upon government to allow Malawians to immediately access all their pension money including employer contribution which can only be accessed after retirement age of 60 under section 64 of the Pension Act and employees’ own contribution which can only be accessed after 6 months from the last employment as per section 65 of the Pension Act,” reads the statement in part.

The organisation has, therefore, appealed to the government through the Ministry of Finance to introduce a waiver so that the affected workers are able to access the said pension which will cushion them against the Covid-19 pandemic.

While CDEDI commends the government for introducing mandatory use of face masks in all its institutions as a preventive measures against the pandemic, it further appeals to the government and other institutions such as banks and shops to make available the said materials to some Malawians who may not have them due to lack of money so they can access their services easily.

On Friday last week, government announced a ban of social gatherings in all public places as one way of combating the spread of Corona virus. It also suspended most public functions such as weddings and bridal showers in addition to ordering the use of facemasks in all government institutions.

As of July 13, 2020 Malawi had 2430 Covid-19 cases with 39 deaths.