Vice-President Saulos Chilima has told sports authorities to bypass some installations that are awaiting funding to speed up the opening of the 40 000-seater Bingu National Stadium.
Chinese contractors finalised the project last year but the opening has delayed because the Malawi Government is failing to raise K500 million to increase power supply and install sewer system and electronic ticketing facilities at the stadium.
Speaking after touring the multi-million kwacha stadium yesterday, Chilima observed that some of the remaining facilities can be installed later.
The Vice-President said installation of the sewer system, at the stadium with 800 toilets, should be a key priority because it is crucial for the health of the sports fans.
“When we look at what’s outstanding here for it to be functional, it’s very little. In my view, the sewer system should take precedence over the lighting system because the lighting system is for us to be able watch soccer at night. In the short term, we can’t be worried about watching soccer at night,” he said.
On funds to finalise the project, the veep was optimistic that the Ministry of Finance would insert it in the next national budget which is expected to be tabled in Parliament next month.
“We are already getting close to the next budget session. Some elements of that should be provided for in the 2016/17 framework,” he said.
Overall, Chilima said he was impressed with the facility which, if well taken care of, could benefit the country both financially and in sports terms.
“It’s a magnificent facility which we should put to full use. There is a clinic, a police unit and private facilities where families can come and enjoy watching soccer,” he said.
Minister of Sports and Culture Grace Chiumia said Treasury has delayed approving the K500 million budget because it did not have money.
“There was hunger and other natural disasters which hit the country. What we were doing is to prioritise saving lives,” she said, while expressing optimism that the Treasury will include it in the upcoming national budget.
She hinted that Malawi national team could play an international friendly match during the opening of the stadium which is expected to be presided over by President Peter Mutharika.
“We don’t know when the stadium will be opened though but what I can say is that some of the activities we are lining up is a friendly match,” she said.
The facility was constructed with loan from the Chinese Government. Among other things it has synthetic running track, offices and bucket chairs.