Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development has asked the Malawi National Council of Sports (MNCS) to frame its 2019/20 Budget within K2 billion.
The ceiling is K200 million less than what the council was initially given when the ministry was planning for the current national budget expiring on June 30.
Confirming the development in an interview, the council’s executive secretary George Jana said they are not comfortable with the ceiling. He, however, expressed hope that there will be adjustments.
“Since these are just preliminary stages, we are optimistic that by the time the budget is presented and passed by Parliament, there will be an increment,” he said.
Jana, however, urged the associations not to have high expectations regarding the funding.
“It is important that they understand that we cannot support all the programmes. Money is never enough,” he said.
Over 40 sports associations receive grants from the council’s budget and the ceiling has sparked fears that most sports programmes will suffer poor funding.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) alone wants over K1 billion to bankroll national team activities in the upcoming financial year.
Among others, the funds are for the hosting of the Under-17 Cosafa Cup, the Flames’ participation in the 2020 Cosafa Senior Challenge Cup and other junior tournaments.
Meanwhile, FAM general secretary Alfred Gunda forecasted financial challenges for the Flames.
“If that is the ceiling, then it is obvious we might not get the funds we want. Though that has been the case most times, we hoped for the better this year,” he said.
Recently, FAM proposed to Parliament to be providing exclusive funding for the Flames in the national budget.
Such an arrangement, FAM said, will ensure that football is not scrambling for the meagre resources provided to the council and the rest of sports associations.
The Parliamentary Committee on Social and Community Affairs supported the idea and promised to push for its enactment.
Gunda said the drop in the council’s ceiling shows the need for football to be getting its own vote in the national budget.
“At the end of the day, it is not only football which will suffer but other associations as well because football and netball might still get a large portion at their expense,” he said.
The 2019/20 National Budget is expected to roll out on July 1 this year.