The Civil Society Agriculture Network (Cisanet) has urged government to allocate part of the proceeds from the sale of two banks, Malawi Savings Bank (MSB) and IndeBank to Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (Luanar).
Cisanet’s call comes amid reports that government has not yet decided on how to spent the K16.2 billion realized from the sale of the two commercial banks.
Government sold MSB at K9.5 billion while Indebank was sold at K6.7 billion.
And Cisanet, a policy advocacy organisation working on agriculture and food security policy issues, on Friday said was deeply concerned with appalling learning conditions at Luanar’s Bunda campus.
Luanar, the fourth public university in the country, has Bunda and Natural Resources Colleges (NRC) as its campuses in Lilongwe District.
Cisanet National Director, Tamani Nkhono said his organization has over the years closely monitored the developments at Bunda which has been affected by low funding and consequently poor condition of infrastructure.
”Luanar is an institution that is training the future policy makers in the agriculture sector as such it is disheartening to see the condition of the classrooms, laboratories, tiny and poorly stocked library that students are using,” said Nkhono.
According to Nkhono, the university’s teaching facilities remain undesirable with students fainting in the hot Marquee that is currently used to hold large classes.
”Over the past few years, it has been noted that students are finding accommodation in the nearby villages. Honestly such conditions cannot produce the cream that this country needs to transform the agriculture sector”.
He also noted that low funding to the university has made some of critical staff positions to remain vacant while failing to implement NRC additional staff costs.
Nkhono said Cisanet was disturbed that works for the construction of a teaching facility and an administration complex was slow as the contractor is still waiting to be paid arrears that had accumulated to K1.1billion as at 30th June, 2014.
”As Government is pondering on how and where to allocate the proceeds from he sale of the Malawi Savings Bank (MSB) and INDEBank, Cisanet wishes such resources were invested in critical areas such as Luanar whose impact will be felt in many years to come”.
Nkhono said allocating part of the proceeds from the sale of the two banks to Luanar will help promote advances in science and technology to promote Malawi’s agricultural productivity.
”Agriculture being the main stay of our economy, our prosperity as a country, will depend on it for many years to come but only when we meaningfully invest in infrastructure such as classrooms, laboratories, and up-to-date well-stocked library”.
Luanar was operationalised on 1st July, 2012 and accommodates a student population of about 5 000.
Spokesperson for Ministry of Finance, Nations Msowoya said his ministry was yet to consult on how to use the money which is already in government’s account number one.
“We will have to meet and decide what to do with the money,” said Msowoya raising fears that government might misuse the funds.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :