There was commotion in Parliament on Wednesday after the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) disclosed that it will construct the National Cancer centre in Blantyre rather than Lilongwe as earlier communicated.
Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and development Goodall Gondwe justified the move, saying the decision has been arrived at following discussion with the ‘principles’ of the loan, Opec Fund for International Development who opted for Blantyre.
Move did not go down well MPs in the Chamber blaming the government on not following procedure and forced the government through Minister of Finance to refer the Loan Authorisation Bill for $13.1 million (about K5.3 billion) to the Health Committee of Parliament.
The first to add his voice on the bill was former ruling People’s Party (PP) for the North Harry Mkandawire who said that the bill Gondwe brought to the House was not the original one as gazetted in July 2014 because the location was different.
Mangochi Monkey Bay MP Ralph Jooma (People’s Party) said following the change in location for the cancer centre, there was need for the MPs to consult their constituents first.
On his part, Karonga Central MP Frank Mwenifumbo, brandishing a copy of the bill, said: “This bill is talking about Lilongwe [cancer centre location], but the one presented is talking about Blantyre.”
In his presentation, Gondwe told the house that once the centre is constructed it will adversely reduce the amount money government spends on cancer patients.
The chaotic direction the matter was heading prompted Speaker Richard Msowoya to rule that Gondwe should seek the necessary permissions and table the bill again, but without a change in location.