The new Bingu National Stadium is already facing challenges even before it starts operating as government is delaying to provide funding for its maintenance works.
The development comes about five weeks before the facility’s official opening.
The facility’s operations manager Eric Ning’ang’a told The Nation in an interview yesterday: “Of course, we are on course in terms of our preparations for the official opening by His Excellency the President [Peter Mutharika], but we face financial struggles to fulfil our obligations of making the stadium ready for activities because funding for some developmental works is taking time to be released.
“For instance, we still do not have furniture, pool car and we are not able to buy equipment for pitch maintenance such as lawn mowers and pesticides. All these need money,” he said.
He added that as a cost centre they get funding for ORT [other recurrent transactions] and development, “but it is not enough to cater for some of the development work.”
However, spokesperson in the Ministry of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development Simon Mbvundula yesterday claimed that the issue has not been brought to their attention.
“The stadium is a cost centre and what this means is that they get funding. Therefore, they are supposed to budget according to their needs.
“But we should also take into consideration that there are major projects taking place at the stadium and funding is as per need at a particular time.
“If they had issues, they should have taken them up with ministry authorities. That [stadium] is a national asset and we would want it to be in good condition. As for small things, they can be handled with whatever they get. Nevertheless, we will get in touch with them to appreciate their concerns,” said Mbvundula.
Treasury allocated K841 million in the current budget for the completion of the facility.
The state-of-the-art stadium, constructed by a Chinese contractor to the tune of $70 million concessional loan Malawi government will pay back in 20 years, was initially planned to be up and running by November last year before the dates were shifted to March, June, October, December and December this year.
But it is now planned to open on January 28 next year. n