By Hudson Mphande, Nyasa Times
Malawi Government would have to cough more than K25 billion (almost US$71 million) to see through the opening of the Malawi University of Science and Technology, the brainchild of the country’s late President Bingu wa Mntharika which coincidentally was constructed at his home in Ndata, Thyolo district.
The project has already cost the Malawi Government US$89 million (almost K31 billion) which was in a form of a soft loan from the People’s Republic of China.
The revelation of such colossal sum of money was made this week when the country’s Public Universities Working Committee (PUWC) met the Education, Science and Human Resources Committee of Parliament.
PUWC is a committee which was mandated to oversee Mutharika’s dream of setting up six universities in the country in the next ten years.
Chairman of PUWC Ron Nkomba told the committee that the amount comes in mainly because the Malawi/China loan agreement did not much consider what it takes to have an operational university saying the said money was only enough to construct basic shells.
“Had it been we were present when going to Beijing we could have given our input as to what it takes to establish a university. We asked from the beginning about these things and were assured that government would take care of them,” he said.
Nkomba said the university was initially planned to be handed over in December last year but following the numerous inadequacies the date had to be shifted to September this year.
Dr Bernard Zingano, chairman of the infrastructure subcommittee of PUWC said the committee got the project while it was almost underway but from the onset the members “realised that that there was quite a big financing gap.”
Among the shortfalls were staff houses, additional lecture rooms, laboratories, engineering workshop as well as a road network to access the campus, power supply, water, sewage and waste management system, telecommunication amenities and lifts to access the upper floors of the three storey building to accommodate students with physical disabilities.
The university is also yet to have furniture, social amenities, general school equipment, books and other learning resources and additional facilities such as primary and nursery schools (primary and nursery), a health centre to cater for a more than 300-staff community.
Chairman of the Finance subcommittee Michael Kamphambe Nkhoma said at the moment there was no indication as to where money to complete the project will come from.
“Unless additional funds are provided there will not be any or much work done at Must and this will negatively affect the planned opening date for the university,” he told the members of the committee.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :