Lilongwe - Malawian Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe has insisted that President Peter Mutharika cannot travel economy class, despite a motion that prevents government officials from flying in business class, Nyasa Times reports.
Making his statement during an address in parliament, Gondwe said that the motion did not affect the Head of State, insinuating that a directive to have Mutharika travel economy class was absurd.
"You mean the president should travel economy class?" Gondwe shot back to a question regarding the new motion and its effect on the president.
Following the motion, which was supported by both the ruling party and the opposition, government officials would no longer be permitted to travel business class on the state's budget.
Former president Joyce Banda previously sold off the country's presidential jet, along with 60 Mercedes limousines used for ex-president Bingu wa Mutharika's convoy.
The move was applauded at the time by British International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell, who claimed that Banda was setting an example for other African leaders, the Telegraph reported.
Due to the ailing state of Malawi's economy, Mutharika has been forced to utilise passenger planes in recent times, with his bag having gone missing during one of his international trips.
Following his maiden commercial flight last year, the Malawian leader lashed out at foreign media who probed him over the prospect of chartering a jet.
"Do you want your president to be waiting at the airport for 10 hours?"
"Of course we are poor, but we should not be advertising our poverty," an angry Mutharika was reported by Malawi24 as saying.