Construction of a new stadium in Blantyre has suffered yet another blow after government for the second consecutive time failed to disburse funds allocated for the project in the just-ended 2018/19 National Budget.
Parliament approved K500 million for the state-of-the-art new stadium earmarked for Njamba Freedom Park.
But director of sports in the Ministry of Youths, Sports and Culture Jameson Ndalama confirmed that Treasury did not disburse the funds after Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development scrapped off the allocation during the Mid-Year Budget Review in January.
“The ministry decided against funding the project. Obviously they were other pressing issues that needed resources, hence the withdrawal of the allocated funding,” he said.
“It is our wish to see Treasury allocate funds to the stadium. However, let us wait and see what the Ministry of Finance has in store for us,” he said.
Blantyre stadium project is not the only one affected by Treasury’s changes.
The Mzuzu Youth Centre, which has already consumed millions of kwacha without any structures to show and was handed K300 million in the previous budget, has also experienced the same fate.
The project was under sports ministry until recently when the two ministries were separated.
Director of youth Judith Msusa asked for a questionnaire which she had not yet responded.
Meanwhile, Mzuzu-based Youth and Society (YAS) executive director Charles Kajoloweka has taken the ministry to task for allegedly diverting K300 million meant for the project.
He said the ministry should account for the funds which the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture has been receiving for the project.
“Our fear is that the funds will be abused again. So, it is good that Treasury did not disburse the funds [this year],” Kajoloweka said.
Others sports projects that suffered the same fate are e-ticketing system at stadiums, renovations of Blantyre Youth Centre, BAT Ground and Kamuzu Institute for Sports (KIS) and construction of a National Sports Complex.