Malawi Parliament on Friday passed the bill to allow government to borrow MK16.4bn from the European Investment Bank to help the Northern Region Water Board (NRWB) improve its efficiency and to rehabilitate the Lunyangwa Dam.
Presenting the Bill to the House, Finance Minister, Goodall Gondwe, said the loan had a 20-year repayment period with a grace period of 4 years and that it would attract a 1.1 percent interest.
The minister said the loan would benefit over 280,000 households in the north and that it would improve the Board’s services which are currently not at their best.
“At the moment most of the water is being lost without reaching consumers and the loan intends to help the Northern Region Water Board improve its efficiency,” explained Gondwe to journalists after the passing of the Bill.
He added: “It will also be used for the rehabilitation of the Lunyangwa Dam adding one more metre to its depth so that more water should be harnessed and this will increase the dam’s water capacity to 200,000 litres more.”
In their contributions legislators hailed the Bill and prayed for its quick implementation and regular maintenance of the machinery when put in place.
“We are very happy with the Bill but we would want it to also cater for replacement and rehabilitation of water reservoirs,” said Malawi Congress Party’s Dedza East Legislator, Juliana Lunguzi, adding: “We are good at borrowing but we fail to repair the installed equipment.”
Mzimba South West Parliamentarian, Khumbo Kachali, also hailed the Bill but he advised that it was high time the country developed sewer systems and stop using septic tanks.
Kachali added that as a country, there was need for clear programme or policy to ensure availability of water in the country at any time of the year.