Presenting the Bill in the House, Minister of Education, Science and Technology Bright Msaka, said the successful de-linking of Bunda College of Agriculture in 2012 from UNIMA to become Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources escalated the impetus for other colleges to de-link as well.
“By the time we were de-linking Bunda college from UNIMA in 2012, it had an intake of one thousand, seven years down the line, it is accommodating ten thousand students, which gives us motivation that if we do this with other universities, we will be able to allow them to expand and serve Malawians better,” observes Msaka.
Following the de-linking of the University of Malawi, the House also passed the Malawi University of Business and Applied Sciences bill which introduces the new University by the name of Malawi University of Business and Applied Sciences currently the Polytechnic college.
The House also approved a bill aimed at merging the College of Medicine and Kamuzu College of Nursing into one university called the University of Health Sciences.
Msaka said the de-linking process of the Universities will help to create more opportunities for students to access university education as well as increase the quality of education and management of the country’s universities once they become autonomous.
Earlier, the House passed the appropriation bill that authorizes government to start spending the funds allocated to various government ministries and departments in the 2018/2019 revised budget. Three more money authorization bills have also been passed to allow government obtain funds from some international organizations to fund particular projects.
Among such bills is bill number 5 of 2019 – OPEC Fund for International Development – Shire Valley Transformation Program phase 1 loan authorization.
Presenting the bill, Minister of Finance Goodal Gondwe said the bill seeks to authorize the Minister of Finance borrow 15 Million dollars from the OPEC Fund for International Development. The funds will be used for co-financing shire valley transformation project phase 1.
Gondwe said the total financing of the phase one is 224 million dollars. Gondwe further told Parliament that the major challenges to the agricultural productivity in Malawi includes adverse weather conditions, low development of irrigation, poor crop management practices.
“We intend to implement the project to address these challenges in Chikwawa and Nsanje districts where farmers will be provided with reliable gravity fed irrigation and drainage services, secure land tenure for smallholder farmers and strengthen the management of wetlands and protected areas in the valley,” says Gondwe.
The House also passed bill number 7 of 2019 – Exim Bank of India – Drinking water supply schemes loan authorization which seeks to authorize the Minister of Finance to borrow from Exim Bank of India 215 million dollars for, drinking water supply schemes, construction of new water intake on the Shire River, construction of a 50 megawatt solar power plant and replacement of old water distribution pipes project.
According to Finance Minister Goodal Gondwe, the project will benefit residents of Blantyre and some selected districts in Southern region.
The Minister of Finance has also been authorized to borrow 80 Million Euro from the European Investment Bank for the rehabilitation of the M1 road from Kamuzu International Airport junction to Mzimba as most of whose stretches are in bad state and need attention.
The House has since adjourned sine die, as it awaits to be dissolved on March 20, 2019 ahead of the May 2019 tripartite elections.