Students owe College of Medicine K1.3bn

Post graduate and undergraduate students owe College of Medicine (CoM), a constituent college of the University of Malawi (Unima), about K1.3 billion in unpaid fees, a financial status report has shown.

The report we have seen also shows that the college owes suppliers K1.4 billion.

Mipando: The information is outdated

But in an interview this week, CoM principal Mwapatsa Mipando downplayed the financial status, saying the information in the report could be outdated. He said CoM has since sent back the report for reconciliation.

The report shows the financial position of CoM as of April 8 2019 and provides a projection to June 30 2019. It notes that during the 2018/19 academic year, new invoices were charged to student accounts, increasing the portfolio to over K2.6 billion.

The report said following the 2017/2018 budget cuts and low recovery of outstanding student fees, the college faced problems in servicing its debts.

“As at 31 March 2019, the debtors’ balances decreased down to K1.73 billion. Based on the past and current trend of collections, the collectible debtors portfolio is projected to decrease to K907 million by the close of 2018/19 academic and financial year.

“Following this further budget cut, the college’s subvention decreased from K362 million to K315 million per month from February 2018 to June 2018. The revised subvention was hardly enough for monthly staff salaries valued at K350 million,” reads the financial status report.

Further, the report said as at April 8 2019 the college owed various institutions the sum of K1.46 billion, out of which K1.25 billion was overdue for payment, thereby posing serious challenges to the operation of the college.

The report shows that CoM was in pay as you earn (Paye) arrears pegged at K731 million.

In the report, the college proposed some cost-cutting measures to save the limited financial resources budgeted for the remainder of the fiscal year ending June 30 2019.

The measures include freezing of capital expenditure, freezing of staff recruitment, minimising local travels that includes meetings, conferences and workshops to be undertaken within Unima campuses.

The college also proposed minimising external travels and limitation of printing and stationery saying cartridges and other stationery will be procured to a limited scale to minimise printing costs.

“To ensure that the budget cuts did not lead to the closure of the college, management exercised prudent financial management. The college had no option, but to defer some payments till the end of the academic year as well as financial year,” says the report.

But Mipando maintained some information in the report on the uncollected fees was based on invoices issued using the selection list when some students did not report for studies.

“The invoices are issued based on the list. They have to reconcile that because some students might not have come,” he said. “We have given them one month to reconcile the figures. The figure might go down.”

On cost cutting measures, the principal said the college has imposed the measures to ensure that is do not close and still offer quality services.

He said CoM receive subvention from government mainly for salaries as well as generating its own resources from researches and other activities.

CoM is one of the Unima constituent colleges set to be delinked to form autonomous universities. Besides Unima, the country has three other functional public universities, namely Mzuzu University, Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources and Malawi University of Science and Technology.

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