Sports associations that receive annual government grants should brace for tough economic times ahead because the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development has slashed Malawi National Council of Sports (MNCS) budget by K300 million in the 2016/17 national budget.
The council was given K1.3 billion in the 2015/16 financial year, but ahead of the tabling on the next financial year budget, the council has been given a ceiling of K1 billion.
The K1 billion is meant to carter for the council’s operations and disbursements of annual grants to over 10 sports associations for their activities such as tournaments and coaching courses.
The council’s executive secretary George Jana and administration manager Henry Mereka were not available for comment as they are reportedly outside the country.
Ministry of Sports and Culture spokesperson Christopher Mbukwa confirmed the development in an interview on Friday but he revealed that they are lobbying for increased allocation.
“From the information we have, the council’s budget has been slashed to K1 billion from K1.3 billion. The deducted amount is really significant and we are negotiating with the hope that the ceiling can be raised,” he said.
Revelations about the budget cut comes after Football Association of Malawi and Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) submitted proposed budget totaling to around K1 billion—which is an entire budget for the MNCS—in the upcoming financial plan.
FAM is asking for K600 million while NAM is requesting for K400 million. The two associations which govern the most famous sports in the country have over the years receiving a lion’s share from the government subventions.
FAM general secretary Suzgo Nyirenda said much of the funds will go to the Malawi national team programmes and some to the grassroots football initiatives.
The Flames are expected to play at the 2017 Cosafa Cup and Africa Nations championship (Chan) while the Under-20 is also expected to play at the Cosafa Youth championship.
Nyirenda defended the budget saying it is realistic considering the “busy schedule which the Flames and junior side have in the coming months,”
Last year, according to Nyirenda, FAM submitted a proposal of around K600 million but it was slashed to K100 million.
The development, he said, affected the national team programmes which has seen the Flames needing over K100 million to play an Afcon qualifiers against Zimbabwe next month.
NAM general secretary Carol Bapu said they need K400 million for the national team and Under-21 to compete in various tournaments.
Within the next financial year, Malawi Under-21 is expected to play at the World Youth Championship and the Africa Region V tournament while the senior side will compete at the Fast5 championship.
But Mbukwa trashed FAM and NAM saying their proposed budgets are unrealistic considering the hard economic times facing the country. n