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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Malawi Parliament passes two bills to cushion effects of Cyclone Freddy, Droughts

By Lovemore Khomo

On Thursday, National Assembly passed two bills, which are expected to support in the cushioning of the effects caused by Tropical Cyclone Freddy and combat perennial droughts in the country.

Bill No. 2 of 2023 International Development Association for Water and Sanitation projects in Blantyre and surrounding areas, and Bill No. 3 of 2023 for second additional financing for the Social Support for Resilient Livelihoods Project in the country were presented by the Minister of Finance Sosten Gwengwe.

He said the bill on Water and Sanitation project which seeks government to solicit grants amount to K150 billion from International Development Association that operates under World Bank, will support both Blantyre Water Board and Blantyre City Council improve on water and sanitation issues.

“We had to fast track these bills because Cyclone Freddy has caused untold devastation, but we know as we rebuild water and sanitation will become very important.” Gwengwe said

He continued, “We believe that these resources will help Blantyre Water Board to start restore facilities that provides people with much needed water, sewage and sanitation system in general.”

Turning to the second additional financing for the Social Support for Resilient Livelihoods Project, the Finance Minister elaborated that it might support in rebuilding livelihood of vulnerable people through delivery of different social services on a grant worth K115 billion.

“Again this bill has been fast tracked because of Cyclone Freddy as we need to start enhancing and rebuilding lives of our people whether is Social Cash Transfer or Public Works.”

“People have lost livelihoods, now it’s time we should start to act and think how we can help them rebuild their lives as it used to be before Cyclone,” explained Gwengwe.

He also informed the house that the negotiations with World Bank focuses on both people affected by Cyclone Freddy and drought that has hit Karonga.

“We expect to sign the agreement with World Bank tomorrow or few days, but these have been already approved and we hope in next few weeks start roll out these projects.” Assured Gwengwe

Both DPP spokesperson on water and sanitation Francesca Masamba and UDF leader Lillian Patel strongly supported the bills, saying these are very important projects for people in southern region who have been affected by the effects of cyclone Freddy.

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