August 10, 2019 / 3:21 PM / 2 months ago

Landlocked eSwatini report says ministers must tighten belts to help lift economy

FILE PHOTO: Prime Minister of Eswatini Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini speaks during the COP24 UN Climate Change Conference 2018 in Katowice, Poland December 3, 2018. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel/File Photo

MBABANE (Reuters) - The Kingdom of eSwatini is looking at cutting cabinet ministers’ housing, travel and entertainment allowances as part of attempts to revive the economy of the southern African country formerly known as Swaziland.

A Royal Commission tasked with investigating how politicians are remunerated in the landlocked country submitted recommendations on Friday, including ending first-class travel for ministers except for Prime Minister Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini and his deputy.

The recommendations, tabled before cabinet and awaiting Royal approval, also call for housing allowances to be cut to 12.5% of annual salaries from 25%, so cabinet ministers would get 7,719 emalangeni per month for this purpose instead of 15,349 emalangeni.

Entertainment allowances would be cut 7% to 1,852 emalangeni, and in addition the prime minister and his deputy would contribute 33% towards their medical cover.

eSwatini Finance Minister Neal Rijkenberg said in February the kingdom was facing an “unprecedented economic crisis” and was set to continue faltering as it faces slowing rates of foreign investment and a fast-growing wage bill.G

($1 = 15.2400 emalangeni)

Reporting by Lunga Masuku; Editing by David Holmes

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