Malawi’s presidential jet was sold this week for $15 million in order to raise money for the impoverished nation.
According to News 24, the jet was purchased by the late president Bingu wa Mutharikain 2009 for $22 million. Many of the country’s donors were insulted by the purchase, saying that Mutharikain should be working to improve the lives of his people instead of treating himself to a new luxury jet, and reduced their donations. Britain, for one, reduced its aid budget to Malawi by $4.5 million after the jet was purchased.
Mutharikain argued that using the private jet was cheaper than flying commercial but his critics noted that the country was spending $300,000 a year to maintain and injure the jet.
Principal Secretary for the Office of President and Cabinet Chinthu Phiri said that four companies were bidding on the jet. President Joyce Banda was hoping to sell the jet for its $20 million market value but has decided to accept the highest bidder’s offer.
Phiri told the BNL Times: “The buyer has been identified and the amount is $15 million dollars. As the Deputy Chief Secretary revealed last week, government failed to find a buyer meeting our valuation and we have offered it to the highest offer.”
President Banda, who took office in April, said that the sale of the presidential jet will provide a boost for the Malawi economy. Banda also hopes that the sale encourages countries like Britain to reconsider their aid budgets.
In order to improve the countries economic standing, Banda has also reduced his salary by 35% and has pledged to sell off dozens of Mercedez Benz cars that are currently being used by her cabinet.