LILONGWE (MaraviPost)—Water problem is expected to be over in Malawi’s commercial city of Blantyre following Parliament’s approval of MK6 billion (US$ 23.5 million), a loan from Export Import Bank of India to increase Blantyre Water Board’s capacity to supply water in the city.When presenting the bill in the August House, Goodall Gondwe, Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development said the borrowed money would allow Blantyre Water Board (BWB) to finance the construction of a highway-water supply system from Likhubula River, Mulanje district to Blantyre.
Although the bill had some clause or wording which said that the water supply system was only for Blantyre and “for no other purpose”, Gondwe clearly explained that the people from other districts including Thyolo and Chiladzulu will also benefit from the project.
On the time frame for Blantyre city residents to start using the water supply system, the minister assured the House that within two years the project might be completed.
“We have a solution to all water problems in our cities. Blantyre will now be looking at getting water from Mulanje while in Lilongwe; a feasibility study will be carried out soon to see possibility of tapping water from the underground lake.
“However the challenge is that studies show that the underground lake is about two kilometers which will be expensive to have it. Apart from that there are also efforts made to locate new sources of water for Mzuzu city soon”, said Gondwe.
However, most legislators who contributed on the bill questioned government’s appetite for borrowing arguing such funds fail to change people’s lives especially in rural areas.
Even other lawmakers wondered whether indeed BWB has the capacity to carry out such an ambitious project opting for Southern Region Water Board (SRWB).
“Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am very skeptical of the bill considering the way government has been handling borrowed money. It’s difficult to monitor these projects. Most loan projects don’t have well detailed information available to Parliament to track down the usage of funds.
“Therefore, am asking the Minister of Finance to provide a blue print of the bill so that relevant committees of Parliament would be able to follow how government has used every cent that it borrowed. It’s not us who will pay back these money but the current young people,” demanded Juliana Lunguzi, Malawi Congress Party (MCP)’s MP for Dedza East Constituency.