Despite the uncertainty over the construction of a new stadium at Njamba Freedom Park in Blantyre, Minister of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development Grace Chiumia insists that the project will see the light of the day.
President Peter Mutharika promised the erection of a new stadium in the commercial city when he was campaigning for presidency prior to the 2014 Tripartite Elections, but the project has not started with only five months remaining on his five-year tenure of office.
However, in an interview yesterday, Chiumia said behind the scenes, consultations regarding the project are on going.
“One of the factors delaying the project is that some people are saying the sight is water-logged and, therefore, not suitable for a stadium.
“So, consultations are still on-going and once everything is finalised, we will say when exactly the project will start. But the new stadium will surely be built,” she said.
Last month, former sports minister Francis Kasaila told Weekend Nation that government was yet to get resources for the project.
“If the resources are found tomorrow, then we have no reason not to start the work. If we cannot then we will wait until Treasury tells us when the resources are available,” he said.
At that time, Kasaila said the project was still at design stage.
In the 2018/19 National Budget, the new stadium, which is projected to cost about K110 billion, was allocated K500 million for designs.
In the previous budget, it was allocated K1.5 billion for designs and start-up work, but Ministry of Finance and Economic Development spokesperson Davies Saddo told The Nation in June that part of it was diverted towards the rehabilitation of the Kamuzu Stadium.
Parliamentary Committee on Social and Community Affairs chairperson Richard Chimwendo Banda yesterday his committee will meet officials from the responsible ministry next month to enquire about the progress.
“We are scheduled to meet during the second week of January and that is when we will find out how much was allocated and what progress has been made because this is the second year and they are supposed to have made some progress by now,” he said.