The Committee on Parastatal Bodies advances on its candid quest for first hand information regarding state institutions that interest their order of business.
As the national tour of duty advances, the Committee seems to get more and more knowledgeable about matters that have already been stirred up in its office. Of course since the availing of the AG’s report these issues have been brought to the committee’s attention, but sometimes you get a lot more depth into the perception of what’s on the canvas if you pick the brush and trace the strokes that together paints the bigger picture.
Still on a quest to physically visit all the institutions pined on its roadmap, the Committee has since yesterday setup shop in Kabwe, where on the day of arrival, they toured the Water Supply and Sanitation Facilities. Today, it has moved on to another state institution that was together with others cited in the AG’s report as needing immediate attention, Mulungushi University. Mulungushi University is one of the Country’s biggest institutions of learning that produces different professionals who contribute to national development in their specific operational brackets. Due to excessive demand for its services, the institution suffers a bottleneck effect in some of the sectors of its operations that poses as a limit to its optimum productivity. One of the challenged sectors of the University is accommodation sector. As the acting Vice Chancellor Mr Kaonga Nyirenda had submitted to the committee, the university currently has a population of over 7000 students, out of which only about 3400 are accommodated by the institution. This deficit limits its scaling ambition of enrolling over 10,000 students in the nearest future.
However, interventions have been put in place to curb this dilemma: Through the government, the institution has a project where it is constructing six new hostel blocks for students. The committee has been informed that the contractor has had been on site, although lately their presence is sporadic as can be seen by the fewer than usual amount of equipment that can be spotted on site which to the speculative eye suggests demobilization by the contractor. Further quizzing on this matter brought to light the fact that the inactivity on the site is because of the expiration of the contract. However, the committee has been informed that processes to resume operations are underway since the contractor had written to the ministry of local government for extension of the project. The project is fairly near completion with just a few more works to be pushed before it is fully complete.
Besides government intervention, the University has come up with the initiative to renovate some of the old conference facilities that were used for conference purposes during the UNIP days long before the Mulungushi University we see today came to be. To aid this project, the Institution acquired a K10 Million loan facility from a bank and is using university stuff on these renovations other than outsourcing contractors. The committee saw and can attest to the significant levels of works that have since gone into these renovations. However, more works still beg to be done on this part of the infrastructure.
It has also been fathomed, that there are about 60 other buildings that the institution can turn into accommodation facilities provided there is sufficient funding.
The mainstay of the committee’s findings on this feat off the tour thus far, is that the institution is seriously grappling with an accommodation deficit. The fortunate thing about this unfortunate predicament is that the institution has enough facilities that are either underdeveloped or just in a dilapidated state. The main challenge that limits the University from developing these facilities is the lack of funding. This however, the committee has taken due note of and will be sure to submit to the executive in its report for immediate action.
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