Outgoing Prime Minister Bruno Tshibala signed the decrees in November

The government of DR Congo has defended the decrees that grant Ministers lifetime salaries and other benefits.

In a statement released yesterday, the government said the payments “are not to enrich the officials”.

The two decrees, which grant former Ministers benefits worth at least two thousand dollars have been widely criticised because most people in DR Congo live in poverty.

The outgoing government said the state was giving the ministers “a minimum to satisfy their basic needs, notably food, lodging and healthcare”.

The payments “are to stop them [ministers] from falling into destitution”, the statement says.

The two decrees, signed by outgoing Prime Minister Bruno Tshibala in November, were only widely reported in the media recently.

The first decree grants former prime ministers monthly salaries equal to 30% of the current prime minister’s, one business class flight per year and monthly housing stipend of $5,000.

The second decree grants former ministers salaries equal to 30% of the current minister’s and $1,000 monthly towards accommodation.

They will also receive one business class flight a year, Reuters reports.

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