Ministry of Sports and Culture’s desperate bid to complete the Bingu National Stadium has received a major boost as Treasury has allocated K841 million in the 2016/17 draft national budget for the completion of the modern facility in Lilongwe.
Disclosing the development, the ministry’s spokesperson Christopher Mbukwa said the funds will be enough to upgrade the stadium to the expected standards.
“We have received communication from the Finance Ministry that we have been given a ceiling of K841 million ($1213 564) for completion of the stadium. This is enough to operationise the stadium,” Mbukwa said.
The Chinese-funded project was completed late last year but the stadium has been idle because government could not pump in funds to enhance electricity supply and have the sewer system operational.
To finalise work on the stadium, the ministry early this year sought K500 million ($721 501) extra funding which was not given.
Mbukwa said the additional K341 million ($492 063) in the draft budget would help them to improve the facility further.
“The initial budget was for sewer and electrification while the additional funds will help us meet the costs of some work which was not included. For instance, we want to do landscaping and construct a fence around. All these projects will be done using the extra funds,” he said.
Mbukwa added that completion works of the stadium may start at soon as Parliament approves the national budget.
“The money falls under development. So, what happens under such funding is that as soon as the budget passes we can apply to the Treasury to give us the money,” he said.
The 2016/17 financial year will start on July 1 this year while Parliament is expected to start deliberations on the budget next month.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) general secretary Suzgo Nyirenda welcomed the efforts being made to ensure the stadium is operational.
“It is a facility of international standards and we really want to start using it as soon as possible especially during international matches,” he said.