Ministry of Sports and Culture had a rude awakening on Wednesday when only one person out of 60 turned up for a consultative tour of Bingu National Stadium to market the multi-million kwacha facility.
Government also invited firms in the public and private sectors to manage the stadium through the Malawi Investment and Trade Centre (Mitc).
However, according to the Ministry of Sports and Culture, no firm has applied to take over the management of the stadium.
But the ministry blamed Wednesday’s poor turnout on poor communication, saying the officials assigned to deliver the invitation letters did not manage to reach out to some targeted institutions.
According to the invitation letters dated March 7 2016, which The Nation has seen, the meeting was meant to solicit views from chief executive officers of the invited institutions on how best to manage the 40 000-seater stadium.
“During your visit, the ministry’s expectation is that you will give your views as to how best we can manage the facility so that it is self-sustaining,” the letter signed by Ministry of Sports and Culture Principal Secretary Sam Madula reads in part.
Chief sports officer Joseph Kayamba described the development as a setback in their bid to market the facility to investors.
“We invited around 60 companies, but having one representative doesn’t go well with our plans to woo investors into this magnificent stadium.
“I briefly investigated the issue and what I have discovered is that some letters were not delivered. We will inquire further but it is unfortunate that this happened.
“But let me add that we have been told that representatives of Monsanto and BP also came at the stadium, but returned because the ministry officials were late,” he said.
Meanwhile, a marketing expert, Tina Kasamale, has said the stadium has potential for investment considering that it is visited by a lot of people.
“I think that the potential is there especially when the stadium is operational. The fact that it will be visited by a lot of people during matches, the businesses there will be self-advertising,” Kasamale, a marketing lecturer at the Polytechnic, said.
She further pointed out that the best businesses would be shops for sportswear.
“Many people who go to stadiums are sports lovers so it will be easy to find customers for such products,” said Kasamale.
At the moment, government needs to raise K500 million to finalise the project. n