Sports authorities have hinted that construction of a new stadium in Blantyre and rehabilitation of Kamuzu Stadium are key features set to get substantial funding in the 2017/18 National Budget.
Finance, Economic Planning and Development Minister Goodall Gondwe is expected to unveil the budget in the National Assembly this afternoon.
There is also optimism from Malawi National Council of Sports (MNCS) that the funding for various sports associations will increase to match with “the rise in the cost of living.”
A source in the Ministry of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development confided in The Nation that there is an order from “the high authority for implementation of the new stadium project in Blantyre. It is highly likely that funds will be allocated to the initiative.”
Complete Rehabilitation of Kamuzu Stadium is estimated at not less than K600 million, according to our source.
Director of Sports in the Ministry of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development Jameson Ndalama thinly confirmed about the new stadium funding and Kamuzu Stadium renovations.
“There have been some discussions about it. However, I can’t pre-empt what is in the budget,” he said.
Ndalama however, explained that he expects significant funds towards sports infrastructure development, singling out Kamuzu Stadium and Kamuzu Institute for Sports as some of the beneficiaries.
He said: “In the 2016/17 Budget, our priority was to complete the Bingu National Stadium. But this time around there will be funds for other projects.”
On how the sports department has performed in the 2016/17 budget, the chief sports director said they have managed to meet most of their targets.
“We have trained a lot of sports administrators. We participated in a number of international competitions and we also managed to complete the Bingu National Stadium,” he said.
In the 2016/17 budget associations complained that they were not given enough funds.
According to records, Football Association of Malawi (FAM) and Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) were each given K34 million despite each asking for K500 million.
Meanwhile, MNCS executive secretary George Jana hoped that “the upcoming budget will see an improvement in the levels of funding considering that the cost of living has risen.”
But he warned the associations against expectations that all their financial requirements can be met by government.
“It must be repeated here that all sports associations are not a creation of government and, therefore, they must really not bank all their activities and programmes on government funding.
“It must be appreciated that government has a whole range of requirements to satisfy the population. Therefore, not everyone may be granted funds to the level that they wish,” he said.
FAM and NAM have proposed over K500 million each and they are hoping for better allocations than in the 2016/17 budget.
FAM general secretary Alfred Gunda said poor funding affected national team programmes.
“We fail to acquire equipment that can boost the development of football and also fail to participate in some international tournaments that can expose our players,” he said.
NAM president Rosy Chinunda said: “Our budget proposal focuses on developing netball from grassroots and also improve infrastructure. It is, therefore, our hope that we will receive sufficient funds.” n