by Felix Malamula
PRIDE is expected to start construction works for irrigation schemes whose construction start dates were pended due to funding. This follows the additional funding that Government has given the project through International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
During the last sitting of Parliament, legislators passed a bill enabling Government to borrow about 30 billion Malawi Kwacha from IFAD as additional funding for the project.
Through these resources, PRIDE is expected to start construction of three irrigation schemes namely Chipofya in Rumphi, Nazombe in Chiradzulu and Dambo in Dowa district.
Chairperson of the Budget and Finance Committee of Parliament, Honorable Gladys Ganda said the funds are important as they will assist government in giving infrastructure that has a direct bearing on the lives of rural Malawians.
“We notice that these resources will result in three new schemes being constructed and benefiting thousands of our rural farmers. This is why we feel it is important that we support the borrowing of these funds,” said Hon. Ganda.
Speaking in Salima during an interface meeting on the same bill with Ministries of Agriculture and Finance, a week before the bill was tabled, Hon. Ganda then disclosed her committee’s plans to start following up on how these resources are being used through various tours of the projects.
“As a committee, we have facilitated the passing of several bills that authorize government to borrow money for various development projects but we have not gone to check if the projects are really being implemented. From now onwards, we want to change by tracking these projects,” said the Chairperson who is also a Member of Parliament for Nsanje Lalanje.
Speaking during the same meeting, Minister of Finance, Honorable Sosten Gwengwe said Government is always open to consult relevant stakeholders like parliamentary committees on various issues including bills before tabling them in Parliament.
“We are open to dialogue and any kind of discussion. This is why, we did not hesitate to meet the Budget and Finance Committee to discuss these money bills,” said Hon. Gwengwe.
Once completed, the three schemes, whose designs are ready, will bring the number of schemes constructed under PRIDE to ten. Seven schemes are already under construction in five districts of Machinga, Chitipa, Zomba, Phalombe and Nkhata Bay.