The Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST) in Thyolo will cost the tax-payer K600 million in furnishing.

MUST, located at late President Bingu wa Mutharika’s Ndata Farm, has been constructed with a grant of $79 million from the Chinese government and is scheduled to be handed over to the Malawi government this month.

Minister of Education Eunice Kazembe told Parliament on Monday that the university is scheduled to open doors to its first intake next year.

This will, however, depend on whether the Malawi government will be able to furnish the university with all the necessary equipment and mate¬rials pegged at about K600m.

The development comes amid reports that the Chinese government will no longer furnish the university as agreed before. Both the Malawi and Chinese governments have dismissed the reports, saying the agreement was that the Malawi government will have to source its own funds for furnishing while the Chinese government will only be responsible for the actual con¬struction of the university.

Information Minister Moses Kunkuyu said the K600m was already provided for in the 2012/2013 budget.

“The funds were already made available under the Ministry of Educa¬tion in the current national budget. The majority of the funds will be used for the furnishing of the university while part of the amount will be used for other things,” he said.

Kumkuyu said as soon as the university is handed over to the government, a council will be appointed to run it. The council will finalise the syllabus for the university and will advise government on what equipment and other materials will be required.

The minister said currently gov¬ernment can not rush to procure equipment for the university before recommendations from the council.

Responding to a questionnaire, Chinese Embassy Press Officer Wang Junchao said the construction of MUST is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

“Now everything is going on smoothly at the last stage. The Chinese contractor will observe and fulfil the initial agreement in terms of construction and furnishing,” he said.

MUST, which has capacity of 3000 students, will have four facul¬ties namely: the Institute of Science and Technology, the Academy of Medical Science, Ndata School of Metrology and Climate Change and School of African Culture and Heritage.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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