Members of Parliament (MPs) from opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) on Monday criticised government’s proposal to borrow K9 billion (US$21 897 810) from the African Development Fund (ADF) to partly finance drilling of 450 boreholes and construction of 166 toilets at trading centres and markets across the country.
The Loan Authorisation Bill was tabled by Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe.
Dedza East MP Juliana Lunguzi (Malawi Congress Party [MCP]) said 50 years after independence, Malawi should not be borrowing such large sums of money to build toilets.
“Fifty years after independence and knowing that 30 percent of boreholes become unoperational, do we seriously think boreholes are the way to go?” quarried Lunguzi.
Government is expected to borrow an additional $7.5 million from the African Development Bank (AfDB) through the Nigeria Trust Fund and a grant of $4.65 million and government is expected to contribute $3.7 million in kind.
Malawians will start repaying the loans after a 10-year grace period for 30 years at a 0.5 percent interest.
Finance Minister told parliament that the loan will help promote sanitation and hygiene through construction of 166 toilets in markets and trading centres by sex and to include those for the physically disabled.
Gondwe said the money will be used to construct staff houses and develop training and monitoring and evaluation systems.
According to Finance Minister, under the component of water infrastructure development, “there will be rehabilitation of 12 gravity-fed water supply systems and construction of 450 boreholes not covered by the gravity-fed systems.”
Spokesperson for MCP on agriculture, Felix Jumbe, also warned that the funds borrowed should not be lost through ‘Cashgate’.