House passes two bills
By Cathy Maulidi:
Members of Parliament (MPs Tuesday passed two bills, namely Press Trust Amendment and Malawi University of Science and Technology (Amendment) Bill.
Press Trust Amendment Bill seeks to amend Press Trust Reconstruction by enhancing the penalty for contravening provisions of the Act that has remained static since 1995.
Further, the bill seeks to make better provisions for qualifying criteria for persons to be appointed as trustees and enable the trust to support its investments by borrowing or guaranteeing borrowing by its subsidiary and associate companies.
Speaking to journalists after passing of the bill, Justice Minister Titus Mvalo said the bill seeks to capacitate Press Trust and make it vibrant so that it can contribute to the country’s economy.
“It [the Act] has now given Press Trust power to issue guarantees to its subsidiary companies so that they can invest in any sector of economy. In other words, Press Trust will issue a guarantee that [guarantees that], in a case where a company fails to settle a debt, the trust can pay back.
“So, this will enable companies under Press Trust to borrow money from lending institutions on the basis that the trust will guarantee repayment. The bill has also changed provisions on qualifications for trustees; [now], they must at least have a bachelor’s degree,” Mvalo said.
The House also passed the Malawi University of Science and Technology (Amendment) Bill.
According to Minister of Education Madalitso Kambauwa Wirima, the bill seeks to change the composition of the Council of the University by deleting some clauses in the Act which were affecting implementation of some provisions of the Act, thereby negatively affecting management and administration of the university.
“So, the bill seeks to change composition of the Council of the University by deleting the office of Deputy Vice-Chancellor and removing the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Council for Higher Education and the Secretary for Transport as ex-officio members.
“We will replace them with the Secretary for Industry and the Director General of the National Commission for Science and Technology. The CEO of the National Council for Higher Education is being replaced because of the evident conflict of interest of the commission as a regulator of higher education in the country,” Wirima said.
She said the replacement of the Secretary for Transport is based on the lack of relevance of the institution to the mandate of the university.
Both bills were supported by both sides of the House.