Former UNZA deputy vice chancellor professor Geoffrey Lungwangwa says government is abrogating its responsibility to the University of Zambia by not adequately funding it.
Prof Lungwangwa who is also UPND Nalikwanda member of parliament told News Diggers! in an interview that it was not right for the institutions, which is supposed to be largely funded by government, to depend on overdrafts from the banks for salaries.
Last week, UNZA vice chancellor Prof Luke Mumba said he was lucky that lecturers at the institution had not locked him up in office because of delayed salaries, adding that what served him and his management were bank overdrafts which the institution relied on.
But Prof Lungwangwa said the initiative was unsustainable.
“What we are having where a public university like UNZA has to depend on overdrafts from the banks is not proper. That is an abrogation of the responsibility of the government to a public institution like the University of Zambia. There are two types of universities in Zambia in terms of their models of ownership. One is a public university and two is a private university. A private university largely depends on private money, its a business, a public university largely depends on government funding,” Prof Lungwangwa explained.
“The mode of funding of the universities from the public resources is (I) government is suppose to pay for the operations of the university, the recurrent expenditure which includes the salaries of members of staff, (ii) government is suppose to pay for the capital development of the university which includes the infrastructure development of the university (iii) its suppose to pay for staff development of the university, continuous training of new staffs to higher level and (iv) government is suppose to make money available for research so that the university can truly be a university that can teach and conduct research and produce new knowledge and innovation for the benefit of society. So that is how a public university should be funded. So its not proper for a public university like UNZA to continuously depend on overdrafts from the banks in order to pay salaries.”
He said UNZA could not reduce its dependency on government because its resources were little compared to its expenditure demands.
“There is no way the university can depend on its own resources, its own resources are very small compared to the expenditure demands of the university. So government has to make the money available for the operations of the university. If you look at the East Park Mall arrangement, that is the planning which was there when I was university of Zambia deputy vice chancellor in 2003. you know we had put up a committee to look at ways in which we could best make use of the University of Zambia land. And that committee which I chaired eventually came up with the recommendation of setting aside land for commercial purposes where business houses could establish their own businesses on the University of Zambia land and pay money to the university. But even then, like Eats Park Mall, the amount of money coming out from there is not sufficient to pay for salaries of members of staff, it can supplement yes, but its not sufficient to pay for salaries of members of staff. The salaries must be inevitably from budget of the government,” said Prof Lungwangwa.
“That is a public university and it must find money out of the national budget. UNZA was established by the government and money must come out of the national budget to help it run, to help it be a university operating at the frontier of knowledge and developing the human resourcing of the country.”