Opposition parliamentarians on Thursday successfully forced the government to postpone its fee hike in colleges and secondary schools until the economic situation improves.
Salima Central MP Felix Jumbe (Malawi Congress Party) had moved a motion to stop the government from implementing its decision to increase school fees in public colleges and secondary schools, in some instances were going as high as more than 100 per cent.
Jumbe had asked the government to provide resources to the government for the education sector make primary education compulsory and postpone the raising of the fees until the government makes sure that the economy is improved and the living cost of an ordinary Malawian is brought down through the reduction of inflation, stability of exchange rate among others.
He said it was inconsiderate for the government to raise the school and college fees when Malawians spend US $1:9 per day and their per capita is at US $280 when Mozambique enjoys per capita of US $600, the same per capita with Tanzania.
Jumbe said 70 per cent of Malawians are extremely poor with the highest interest rate in Africa after South Sudan, a country that has been at war for many decades.
He said the inflation rate, an indication that food prices are up, is at an all time high and feared in March, it might be out of hand; saying the exchange rate, currently at K580 will get worse in March pushing the cost of living for most Malawians beyond reach.
“This year, the FiSP pack is costing at K9000, this is the person who has to pay this yet he or she did not yield anything due to floods or drought. How do you expect this person to pay this FISP fee and school fees?”asked Jumbe.
He said the government should improve the economic situation first before affecting the school fee hike.
His sentiments were shared by almost all opposition legislators including Leader of the opposition Lazarus Chakwera.
The move to thwart the motion was denied by Speaker Richard Msowoya, who said the legislator for Salima Central, Jumbe followed all the procedures to move the motion.
However, minister of Justice Samuel Tembenu said parliament had no powers to suspend or stop any decisions by the executive arm of government.
He read relevant laws and relevant standing orders to back his point.
But when the House voted, the opposition won the vote which means the government cannot implement the raising of the fees. It is yet to be seen whether this will be followed.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :