Malawi President Orders Tobacco Markets to Open

Photo: Taco Tuinstra

Malawi President Peter Mutharika has ordered tobacco markets to be opened and allowed to operate without disruption to protect small farmers and bolster foreign currency receipts. Tobacco is Malawi’s primary foreign currency earner.

The order is part of a stimulus package aimed at mitigating the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, which also includes measures such as tax breaks, fuel price reductions and increased risk allowances for healthcare workers.

“The coronavirus attack has a huge negative impact on the economy and businesses everywhere,” Mutharika said. “There are many businesspeople and industry players who are uncertain about the situation as it is unfolding. I know that everyone is worried. Therefore, [the] government will take measures to protect jobs and incomes, protect businesses and ensure continuity of the supply chain and the survival of the economy.”

Mutharika and his cabinet will also take a 10 percent pay cut to help fight the spread of the coronavirus.

As of Saturday, Malawi had four confirmed cases of Covid-19.