The Centre for Trade Policy and Development says the explanation offered by Chief government Spokesperson Kampamba Mulenga over the reported sale of NRDC leaves much to be desired.
In a statement, Centre Executive Director Isaac Mwaipopo said Ms. Mulenga’s explanation infact raises many questions that it gives answers.
Mr Mwaipopo said CTPD has noted with sadness the growing conversation around the proposed relocation of NRDC to Chief Shakumbila’s Chiefdom in Mumbwa District following what has been termed as an unsolicited proposal by AVIC International to build a brand new university and commercialize NRDC by building a ‘city within a city’.
He said the explanation by Ms. Mulenga on this case leaves much to be desired and raises questions that beg for answers from her statement.
The CTPD Director said some of the questions that need to be answered are that, “whose responsibility is it to repair the dilapidated infrastructure at NRDC and indeed our other educational institutions around the country?”
“What of the University of Zambia, whose current student population is more than triple its capacity? Does it mean that the solution will also be relocation and commercialization the land?”
Mr Mwaipopo said other questions are, “Since there is encroachment of NRDC land, meaning there are illegal settlers, what have the law enforcement agencies done about this illegal act on government property? Who gave AVIC the detailed information about the problems NRDC is currently facing?”
He added, “Who identified the proposed alternative 1.662.23 hectares land in Chief Shakumbila’s chiefdom that AVIC International wishes to build the new proposed new NRDC and since when did AVIC start determining what is good or bad for Zambia’s Education sector?”
Mr Mwaipopo said it is CTPD’s considered view that AVIC International is now going beyond what they have been known for, raising question marks around their business operations and establishment.
“It would not be a bad idea for authorities to try and investigate who the true beneficial owners of this company are, may be this might help the country have an appreciation,” Mr Mwaipopo suggested.
He said NRDC is a very strategic institution for Zambia adding the establishment of the college was well thought out in 1965 just as much as its location was.
“The current problems being faced by NRDC are man-made and can only be fixed by a well thought out strategy devoid of ill business motives from private sector players,” he said.
“We must add that NRDC has this far played a vital role in contributing to the improvement of the country’s agricultural sector through human resource development as well as Research and Development (R&D). We firmly believe that the college can still do so much more with the right support (institutional, infrastructural and financial).”