House nods to $50 million grant
By Macdonald Thom:
Parliament Wednesday passed a bill that will allow the government to get a grant of $50 million from International Development Association (IDA) for the implementation of a project on nutrition and Early Childhood Development (ECD).
Finance, Economic Planning and Development Minister, Goodall Gondwe, who tabled the bill, said elements of the project to be implemented are nutrition, early childhood learning and poverty-fighting strategies.
He said the project would be implemented in 13 districts including Kasungu, Mchinji, Ntcheu, Mangochi, Machinga, Neno, Rumphi, Likoma, Dowa, Thyolo and Chiradzulu.
“We are focusing on districts with low enrolment ECD. High rates of malnutrition and presence of donor-funded projects,” Gondwe said, adding that beneficiaries of the project include children under the age of five, adolescents (between 11 and 19 years), pregnant and lactating mothers.
But Malawi Congress Party spokesperson on financial issues, Collins Kajawa, said, although the grant is important, Malawians need to know the full benefits of such initiatives.
“Bills of this nature have a positive impact on our lives. But looking at it from another angle, there is a burden of debt. It is important to think about the future. We need to have an update on the money we get and what has been done with it. Malawi Congress Party, therefore, reserves its consent,” the Lilongwe Mpenu Nkhoma Member of Parliament (MP) said.
Although Gondwe said the bill under discussion was about a grant, Kajawa insisted on getting an update on the projects that have been implemented using money given through Parliament.
But People’s Party spokesperson, James Munthali, said his party was in support of the bill.
He, however, said more has to be done to ensure that the money under the grant benefits Malawians.
“I know we are concentrating on nutrition and early stimulation. Nutrition is the most important but we need to focus much on production. We need to look at sustainability,” Munthali said, adding that the project should be extended to other districts.
The bill was eventually passed.
Earlier, the House also passed Engineering Institution Bill of 2018. The bill seeks to repeal the Engineering Act and establish the engineering institution, a public body to regulate the engineering profession in Malawi.
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