The first lot of construction works of the students’ accommodation in the country’s five public universities by one of the two successful bidders of the project, M and M Consortium, is expected to commence in June this year.
This follows the signing of an agreement between the firm, the universities, the government and the Public Private Partnership Commission (PPPC) in Blantyre last week.
The 20,280 bed space hostels for the five campuses are projected at $425 million.
The contractor along with Old Mutual Investment Group, were framed on a Build Operate Transfer (BOT) protocol for a period of 35 years.
Old Mutual Investment was allocated lots at Luanar- Bunda campus and the College of Medicine in Lilongwe.
M and M Consortium, on the other hand was allocated lots at The Polytechnic Resources College in Lilongwe, Chancellor College in Zomba, Malawi University of Science and Technology (Must) in Thyolo and Mzuzu University (Mzuni) in Mzuzu.
Speaking on the sidelines of the agreement signing ceremony, M and M Developments and Infrastructure Chairperson, Isaac Nkosi, said, according to plans, the construction works will commence in June this year.
He said the construction will be done in phases.
“We are ready to go and finalise our agreements with our financiers in Europe and China. In terms of timing, we are looking at finishing off the agreement by the end of May and, come June or July, we should be able to commence work on the sites,” he said.
PPPC Chief Executive Officer, Jimmy Lipunga, said there will be approximately a three-month period from now during which the investors will have to perfect their designs and work plans.
“Consulting experts cost money, so you don’t have to commit too much before you win a tender.
“But now that the company has signed the contract, they will go back to their experts to come up with a specific design and, for that, they have a window of three months,” Lipunga said.
Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Justin Saidi, who signed the agreement on behalf of the government, was upbeat that the initiative will address the accommodation woes rocking almost all the public universities in the country.
Through the project, the government will increase the number of students admitted to public universities against a backdrop of a significant number of eligible students failing to get into tertiary education due to shortage of bed space.