Parliament yesterday allowed Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe to borrow the equivalent of Special Drawing Rights (SDR) 70 100 000 (K69.4 billion) from the International Development Association (IDA) to increase agriculture commercialisation.
The House has since told government to put the loan to good use, considering the country has over the years borrowed a lot for agriculture with very little to show for it.
Mzimba South West MP (People’s Party-PP) Khumbo Kachali said as much as money bills are not rejected in the House, government needed to stress the particular beneficiary areas.
“A lot of money has been sent to capacity building. How long shall we build this capacity? We need to identify real beneficiaries of the loan and ensure that the farming we do goes beyond subsistence,” he said.
Dowa West MP Kusamba Dzonzi (Malawi Congress Party-MCP) said government needs to tread carefully on the loan to avoid what happened with the tractor loan that ended up enriching the already rich.
“It is not right for us to continue approving loans to make the rich richer. Let the real beneficiaries benefit from this loan so that it bears fruits,” he said.
In an interview after the Bill was passed, Gondwe said people need not to worry that the country is borrowing too much and there is no progress.
He said progress is there but only that people do not want to follow up on what is happening or to read the progress reports.
Said the minister: “I have told people how much we have borrowed since independence, but people haven’t read it. If it were not for those loans, we could not have roads, number of schools at district level and airports. People need to take interest in these things and look at things differently.”
Gondwe said people should trust the current loan not to fall in the likes of the tractor gate because the current project has got experts unlike the tractors project which did not have experts.
“This Bill, we will have many experts and we don’t expect something like that to happen again,” he said.
Gondwe further said people should expect results from the 6th year, and that the country will start repaying after that. n