LILONGWE (Malawi NewsNow ) — Malawi government has been advised by Civil Society Agriculture Network (CISANET) to decisively and genuinely use part of the Malawi Savings Bank (MSB) sales proceeds in bailing out the appalling learning conditions at Bunda campus of the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR).
Ministry of Finance through its Spokesperson, Mr Nations Msowoya says the ministry was making consultations on the proper usage of the money gotten from FDH holding amounting to MK9.5 billion.
Mr Tamani Nkhono Mvula, CISANET National Director has since appealed to government to seriously consider allocating part of the proceeds from the bank sale proceeds of to Luanar that the institution should complete construction of infrastructures to improve learning conditions.
The organisation says in a statement made available to Malawi NewsNow: “CISANET has over the years closely monitored the developments at Bunda which has been affected by low funding and consequently poor condition of infrastructure. Luanar is an institution that is training the future policy makers in the agriculture sector as such it is disheartening to see the condition of the classrooms, laboratories, tiny and poorly stocked library that students are using.
“The teaching facilities remain undesirable with students fainting in the hot Marquee that is currently used to hold large classes. Over the past few years, it has been noted that students are finding accommodation in the nearby villages. Honestly such conditions cannot produce the cream that this country needs to transform the agriculture sector.
“The low funding to Luanar also means that some critical staff positions are not provided for while NRC additional staff costs are difficult to implement. CISANET is disturbed that works for the construction of a teaching facility and an administration complex continues to go slow because the contractor is still waiting to be paid arrears that accumulated to K1.1billion as at 30th June 2014.
“As Government is pondering on how and where to allocate the proceeds from the sale of the Malawi Savings Bank (MSB) and Inde Bank, CISANET wishes such resources were invested in critical areas such as Luanar whose impact will be felt in many years to come.”
Luanar was operationalized on 1st July 2012 with Bunda as the only campus but later on 11 December 2014, NRC became the second campus.
The university’s student population is about 5 000 (3 500 at Bunda campus and 1 500 at NRC campus). The university has 5 academic faculties including Agriculture, Food and Human Sciences, Natural Resources, Development Studies and Postgraduate Studies.
The university offers diploma, Bachelor of Science degree, Master of Science degree as well as PhD degree programs. Two of these PhD degree programmes are regional, offered on behalf of 44 Universities in East and Southern African region. The University is also known as centre of excellence in Aquaculture and Fisheries, being designated as a NEPAD Regional fish node in 2006.