Malawi’s President Lazarus Chakwera has suspended with immediate effect all international travel involving himself and all government officials.
He has also ordered all ministers currently outside the country to return home.
Speaking in a televised address on Wednesday night, he also announced restrictions on local travel and reduction by half of fuel allocation to cabinet ministers and senior government officials.
The measures will be in place until the end of the financial year in March 2024.
Some similar austerity measures were also announced during the Covid pandemic but had limited impact as they were not strictly enforced.
The president asked the minister of finance to make provisions for a reasonable wage increase for all civil servants in the next budget review.
He also directed a reduction of income tax on individuals in the new budget so as to help workers whose incomes have lost value.
The president’s move comes as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved a four-year credit facility for Malawi worth $174m (£140m), just days after the country devalued its local currency.
On Sunday, the Malawi Central Bank announced a 44% devaluation of the local currency, the kwacha.
Analysts suggest the devaluation may have been a condition for securing the IMF credit facility.