Newly appointed Minister of Youth and Sports Ulemu Msungama says government will consult on the future of sports projects which Malawi Congress Party (MCP) has inherited from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
Following the withdrawal of DPP’s 2020/21 National Budget and presentation of the four-month provisional budget by the MCP government, some ongoing major sports projects such as construction of stadiums for Nyasa Big Bullets and Be Forward Wanderers, Mzuzu Youth Centre, indoor netball court and renovation of Kamuzu Institute for Sports, have been affected.
Asked on the fate of the projects which were allocated K3.2 billion in DPP’s budget, Msungama said the ministry will consult on the way forward.
“I cannot say much. There are a lot of stakeholders involved. I may be responding as Ulemu Msungama right now. This is an institutional office where I have to consult the technocrats like principal secretaries, directors in the ministries involved before I comment as Minister of Sports,” he said.
But Ministry of Finance spokesperson Williams Banda said it is up to the responsible ministry to decide.
“These are approved projects. But it’s up to the responsible ministry to decide whether these projects are a priority based on the ceiling they will be given, when they present their budget,” he said.
In a related development, Msungama has promised a swift decision on the resumption of football soon after he is sworn in.
A working committee comprising members of Presidential Task Force on Covid-19, officials from the ministries of Health, Sports, Malawi National Council of Sports and Football Association of Malawi (FAM) submitted a proposal before the fresh presidential election to restart football next month.
In the proposal, the stakeholders proposed the resumption of football under strict conditions which include mandatory testing of players and reduction of stadium capacity by half although playing without fans is also an option.
Msungama said: “Every problem has a solution. Some countries have resolved on the way forward. In the Premier League they have resolved that football can resume under strict conditions. It’s not just in UK, but even in other European countries such as Spain and Italy. Immediately I go into office, these are the issues that we need to discuss and map the way forward. We will sit down to see with our capacity what we can do,” he said.
Asked when stakeholders can expect a decision, Msungama promised swift action.
“I am an action oriented person. Immediately I am sworn in, I will be in office and get down to work so that a decision is made,” he said.