Govt Okay MPs General Purpose Fund Loans Implementation
Negotiations on the implementation for the General Purpose Fund (GPF) loans of Members of Parliament (MPs) are finally over as Government has accepted full implementation of the loans, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning confirm.
A welfare committee has been negotiating with Government through minister of Finance on implementation of the personal loan facility amounting to K5 Million for each Member of Parliament, a package which includes funds for motor vehicle, general purpose funds and emergency.
“We have agreed now” confirmed Goodall Gondwe in an interview, and disclosed that Government will soon be writing letters to commercial banks asking them to allow the legislators to access to the loan at interest rate of 27 percent.
“We are prepared to write letters to banks to guarantee that they will return the money and that they will pay the interest rate.” Disclosed Gondwe who further confirmed that members have agreed on this arrangement
Hon. Gondwe clarified that the conditions of service under GPF allows Members of Parliament to borrow from commercial bank of their choice and not as it has been widely thought that members will draw the money from Government pocket.
“A member of Parliament can borrow under the General Purpose Fund from bank of his choice, but that the Government could help him if it so decides on reducing the interest rate payable.” He said
“At first, we thought we should deny them but later on we thought we don’t lose anything by asking them to pay the rate at which we pay our borrowing from the Reserve Bank ourselves. So, if I borrow and I pay 27 percent, they too will pay 27 percent, so, there is hardly any subsidy there.” Explained Gondwe adding that at this rate of interest “this is an equitable thing to do”
Hon Alex Major, Chairperson for the Welfare Committee who has been leading the negotiations with Finance Minister, confirmed the development saying Government has indeed accepted to implement their 2016 Condition of Service.
“Let me say that, MPs like any other government employee is entitled to General Purpose Fund loans. Every person in Government actually gets this type of loan and this is general condition of all Civil Servants.” Said Major
“But, we were demanding for the immediate implementation of this loan because we are required to repay the loan within 36 months but Government has been delaying to implement this yet our tenure of office is approaching to an end. So, that was our worry and the reason we had to demand for the immediate implementation of this loan. And please take note that there is no subsidy here from Government.”
The issue of condition of service came in the House on 14th June, 2016 by Kasungu North Legislator, Elias Wakuda Kamanga who demanded Government to be clear on their condition of service. This led to almost 40 minutes suspension of the House to allow welfare committee to discuss the matter with Minister of Finance.
The House on Thursday morning was also suspended at the very start of the business over the same issue and the House resumed sitting at 16:00 hours.