Despite growing calls by associations to have the Presidential Initiative on Sports (PIS) package hiked, Malawi National Council of Sports (MNCS) has said the K120 million ($165 746) allocation has been maintained.
Sports Council executive secretary George Jana and Ministry of Sports and Culture spokesperson Christopher Mbukwa said this follows Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development’s decision not to approve a proposal for increased sports sector funding.
The PIS package has been stagnant at K120 million since its inception by former president the late Bingu wa Mutharika in 2009.
Said Jana: “We have maintained the same amount. A proposal for increase was there, but obviously, with the budget ceiling, we will not be able to adjust as preferred.”
On his part, Mbukwa said: “The proposal to increase the PIS was presented, but we were not successful. Actually, the lobbying was not only on PIS but Sports Council as a whole.”
Football Association of Malawi (FAM), which (K60 million), said it was becoming increasingly difficult to run the tournament due to the continued rise in the cost of living.
“As I said earlier on, for the past couple of years, we have had to subsidise in terms of administration and other things and the situation has been taking its toll on us.
“Anyway, we will wait for official communication from Sports Council, but on our part the competitions committee will be meeting soon to review the just-ended tournament and make proposals to government through Sports Council based on the funding,” he said.
Nyirenda last week claimed that FAM was already feeling the impact of subsidising the competition in terms of administrative costs and equipment.
In football, the tournament is played at district, regional and national levels and also caters for women, youth and beach soccer.
On her part, Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) president Rosy Chinunda said: “Considering the current economic hardships, we have no choice but to accept whatever comes on our table.”
NAM gets K30 million ($41 436) while the remaining K30 million is shared among other associations.
Last month, appeals for increased sports sector funding hit a snag after Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe told Parliament that there was no money to make amendments.
“Unless members can justify that the ministry has more pressing needs than the current issues on the ground, I am afraid there is nothing we can do. We have other pressing issues such as buying maize,” he said.