Parliament on Tuesday approved for the construction of two stadium for private football clubs—Nyasa Big Bullets and Mighty Be Forward—despite opposition parties and cluster committees protesting the move.
By allowing Vote 180 to be part of the recurrent budget, members of Parliament (MPs) have allowed the allocation of K1.6 billion to the construction of the two clubs stadium.
Vote 180, for Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture has been allocated K9.8 billion with some of the money being earmarked for infrastructure development, including the construction of the stadium.
The vote, however, took almost an hour to be passed as some MPs wanted to know how the ministry will finalise big projects like the construction of the stadia and rehabilitation of Kamuzu Institute for Sports with a modern swimming pool as well as the construction of an indoor netball court, whose allocations they said were not enough.
Kasungu North MP Mike Bango (Malawi Congress Party-MCP) wondered where government will get additional money for the projects.
He said: “For instance, I don’t think K1.6 billion is enough the construction of the stadia. Where will government get extra resources?”
During Budget Statement responses last week, the two main opposition parties in Parliament–MCP and United Democratic Front (UDF) differed on government’s plan to allocate K1.6 billion to the construction of the two stadium.
MCP warned government to refrain from using football teams to gain political mileage, while UDF said government could do better if it adds more money to the project.
In his submission to the House, MCP spokesperson on Finance Collins Kajawa said football is a uniting factor among citizens, but they found it strange that government allocated money for the project to gain political mileage.
“The issue of budgetary allocation towards the construction of stadia for our two most popular teams in the country has turned out to be divisive issue among Malawians. Let us refrain from using football as a pony to satisfy our political egos,” he said.
His UDF counterpart Ismail Rizzq Mkumba said they welcomed the idea, although there was need for government to add more money to the project.
Budget and Finance Committee chairperson Sosten Gwengwe said Treasury erred by allocating K1.6 billion for the construction of two new stadiums as such an expenditure is against the Public Finance Management Act.
The House deferred Vote 121 of National Local Government Finance Committee.
Parliament also passed Vote 090 Office of the President and Cabinet allocated K7.2 billion; Vote 093 Department of Human Resource Management and Development at K48. 4 billion; Vote 097 Civil Service Commission at K626.2 million while Vote 100 Ministry of Defence got K1.9 billion.