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Sun Apr 20 07:49:21 SAST 2014

Luxury Jet "cheap" for poor Malawi: Mutharika

Sapa-AFP | 02 June, 2010 13:250 Comments

Malawian President Bingu wa Mutharika said the purchase of a 13.3 million dollar presidential jet was "cheap" for the poor southern African country.

“It’s our own jet and it’s cheap to run. We are paying 700 dollars an hour to run it. When we hire a jet, we pay 10,000 dollars an hour,” Mutharika told state radio during a news conference.

Mutharika was speaking after arriving from the France-Africa summit in Nice, where he flew on the controversial jet bought last year.

“Many people... arrived in their own jets to France,” he said.

He added that those against the purchase of the jet “should take out their offices from Malawi”, apparently referring to Britain which last year reduced aid to Malawi by three million pounds (4.4 million dollars, 3.6 million euros), over concerns about the purchase.

The former colonial power is Malawi’s main bilateral donor.

Foreign aid accounts for 50 percent of the country’s development budget.

Malawi is one of the poorest nations in the world, with half of its 13 million population living below the poverty line.

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