Government has received widespread condemnation over the move as opposition leaders allege that it is shrouded in corruption.
But explaining the matter in a statement yesterday, Mulenga who is also Information and Broadcasting Minister explained that there was an unsolicited proposal from Avic International to develop a brand new NRDC on a 1,662.23 hectares piece of land in Mumbwa.
“Government wishes to clarify that the Natural Resources Development College (NRDC) has not been sold as reported in some sections of social media. There was an unsolicited proposal from AVIC International to develop a brand new Natural Resources Development College (NRDC) on a 1,662.23 hectare piece of land in Mumbwa, with a view to turning the current NRDC land into a commercial city within a city. However, AVIC has not returned with any concrete proposal, and therefore, Government has not made any decision on the matter. AVIC, in their earlier proposal, stated that the proposed new campus is meant to offer a conducive learning environment for students,” Mulenga stated.
Mulenga said government found the proposal reasonable because the current NRDC campus was located in the midst of residential houses, and had no land left for expansion.
“Government is cognisant of the fact that NRDC was built in 1965 to cater for a population of 300 students. Today, the population of students has swelled to 2, 024 and is likely to reach 4, 000 by 2019. Additionally, the college infrastructure which sits on a land size of only 304 hectares is surrounded by residential areas, namely; Mutendere, PHI and Avondale making it difficult for Government to expand the campus. AVIC, on the other hand, proposed that once developed, the new NRDC will be self-sustaining as it will engage in income generating activities because of the massive land; that students will be able to undertake various agricultural practicals as compared to now when students have a limited number of practicals due to limited space. AVIC envisages an increased number of bed spaces once the new campus is built,” said Mulenga.
“I wish to inform members of the public that Government is currently awaiting a detailed proposal from AVIC and the public will be informed on the decision that will be made. But Government wishes emphasise that NRDC has not been sold. Government’s vision is to provide quality education to its citizens and any proposal to that effect will be judged on its own merit.”