Opposition Malawi Congress Party lawmakers on Thursday led a crusade to block the move by government sale the State-owned Malawi Savings Bank (MSB).
The Public Private Partnerships Commission (PPPC) requested strategic investors to buy a controlling stake in MSB in which the government owns 100 percent of its shares.
But the government’s divestiture agency did not disclose the sizes of the stakes that are up for sale or how much it was selling them for.
Dowa West Member of Parliament (MP) Alexander Kusamba-Dzonzi (Malawi Congress Party – MCP) on Thursday moved a private member’s motion on the issue blocking the sale process.
He said the relevant committee should be in the best position to scrutinise the proposed sale objectively.
Dzonzi’s motion was supported by lawmakers who vehemently rejected the sale and has since referred the matter to the Budget and Finance Committee of Parliament for further scrutiny.
MCP spokeswoman Dr Jessie Kabwila who is also, Salima North-West MP said the poor country like Malawi cannot afford to lose MSB since it is the only commercial bank with nationwide footprints.
“Let Government be transparent with the matter in disclosing its valuation and buyers,” Kabwila told parliament.
“ Our job is to protect people’s assets and Malawians don’t want their bank sold. Period! We will do anything to make sure that MSB is not sold,” she said.
According to the Reserve Bank of Malawi , the MSB is weighed down by bad loans and it requires a $48.3 million (MWK 23.7 billion) in capital and liquidity by June to satisfy Basel II financial and regulatory requirements or risk being struck off by the central bank.
Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe claimed the issue of selling MSB started in 2013 with the People’s Party (PP) administration of Joyce Banda and that the Democratic Progress Party (DPP) Government is only implementing what was already agreed on.
“Right now the process of identifying an independent valuator to determine the wealth of MSB is underway and curtail the process would attract legal challenges. Let me also take this opportunity to clarify that the MSB sale is aimed at shielding some people who have huge debts with the Bank and so buyer has been known,” said Gondwe.
But his statement irked leader of PP in Parliament Uladi Mussa who is also Salima South MP,.
Mussa said Gondwe’s statement “ leaves a lot to be desired.”
He said: “ Does the Minister know that this House can impeach the whole President?…What is MSB after all?”
Mangochi Monkey Bay MP Ralph Jooma challenged the Finance Minister that that MSB will not be sold behind Parliament’s back.
“The Minister should know that lawyers or no lawyers , a national treasure like MSB can’t be sold under the counter,” he said.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :