May 19, 2017 Wanga Gwede – Nyasa Times & Manasse Nyirenda –Mana
Member of Parliament for Nkhata Bay Central, Ralph Mhone, on Thursday questioned the partnership between Malawian Airlines and Ethiopian Airlines describing it as not beneficial to Malawians.
Speaking during question time when legislators get responses from government through questions to ministers, Mhone said that there are little or no benefits for government in a number of Public-Private Partnership (PPP) that it signs.
He said it is very important that when government signs Public Private Partnership agreements particularly those that have international implications, the country should believe to honour those agreements.
“The government has been signing a lot of Memoranda of Understanding under PPP but it seems it is not getting any benefits.
“For instance, we have the Malawi-Ethiopian Airlines partnership which has been in operation for some time. Surprisingly, we have never been informed about the dividends we are getting from the deal,” Mhone said.
Mhone, a lawyer by profession, said the country should be honouring oits own law because “the aim of that particular law is that we must foster investment into this country.”
He said: “That particular first agreement, we are in the dark and yet every year, through the Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism, we parade an investment forum at the BICC
“Can the minister inform us whether we are going to live up to all those investments MOUs that we have signed by first telling us what has happened to this PPP arrangement that we have with Ethiopian Airlines,”
He said that the situation has not improved since the Kayelekera deal debacle whereby government also failed to realise meaningful benefits from the sale of uranium from the Karonga mine.
Last week Dedza East MP Juliana Lunguzi demanded a report from the Minister of Transport and Public Works on how much Malawi has benefitted from Malawian Airlines.
Government Chief Whip in Parliament, Henry Mussa told parliament that the Minister of Finance was better placed to answer the respond but that he was not available in the Chamber.
This prompted Speaker of Parliament, Richard Msowoya to urge ministers to take the deliberations in the house seriously since most of the issues tackled are of national importance.
“Ministers are given sufficient time to look at the questions before they give answers. These are serious issues and ministers are supposed to be available to provide the needed answers,” Msowoya said.
In 2013, Ethiopian Airlines acquired a 49 percent stake with a $20million dollar investment in Malawian Airlines, formerly Air Malawi, in a bid to revamp the then collapsing Air Malawi.
The Malawi Government owns about 20 percent shares in Malawi Airlines with the remaining shares split between individuals and institutions according to the original deal.
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