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Lake security stirs Parliament debate

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Shadreck Namalomba

Minister of Homeland Security, Richard Chimwendo Banda, has said government will buy patrol boats to fight smuggling on Lake Malawi.

He said his ministry has allocated resources in the 2021/2022 National Budget for the purchase of the boats for the Marine Department to carry out the task.

“We have made commitments and we have started putting in money to secure our lake,” Chimwendo said.

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He added that the government is also purchasing other equipment to secure all the county’s borders.

He was responding to Member of Parliament for Likoma, Ashems Songwe, who, among others, asked the ministry to purchase patrol boats and vehicles for the police at the island.

Banda, also dismissed reports that people are being robbed and killed in some parts of Lilongwe, pointing out that there has been a growing tendency of recording and spreading lies through voice notes on social media.

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The minister was responding to Lilongwe City Centre legislator, Alfred Jiya, who said there were reports that people are being abducted, gang raped, killed and robbed in some parts of the capital city.

“These lies have been spreading across for the past two weeks, but I made it clear that every death of a person is reported first at the police and the hospital,” Banda said.

Meanwhile, members of Parliament Friday passed an Appropriation Bill allowing the government to start spending funds allocated in the 2021/22 National Budget.

The budget, which is to be used in the next nine months, is pegged at K1.95 trillion.

The main opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and United Democratic Front (UDF) nodded to the bill but pressed the Minister of Finance, Felix Mlusu, on resources allocated to Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc).

Shadreck Namalomba, who spoke on behalf of DPP, warned the government not to spend outside the approved budget, in efforts to provide K95 billion to Admarc for the purchase of farm produce.

Similarly, UDF’s Mangochi South legislator, Lilian Patel, wondered where the K95 billion would come from.

However, Mlusu said the corporation has already secured funding from financial institutions.

“Admarc is going to be the one to access the funding from the financial market. Wherever support will be required, the government will provide that support,” Mlusu said.

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