Government has allocated K660 million to the Malawi National Council of Sports (MNCS) in the Provisional National Budget to bankroll programmes of over 40 associations in the next three months.
Though the council’s acting executive secretary Henry Mereka in an interview suggested that the funding will be enough to carter for the industry’s needs, some associations fear it falls short of their demands.
“We will analyse the programmes and fund those that need urgent attention. I believe that we will successfully manage our operations with these resources,” he said..
Last month Parliament approved K511.3 billion provisional budget to cover for three months after which it will pass the full financial plan.
According to the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, it came up with the provisional budget because there was insufficient time for a full budget as the country was smarting from the May Tripartite Elections.
Mereka said they expect to spend about K165 million of their allocated funds on the council’s operations.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) has a number of programmes in the next four months, ultimately making soccer the key consumer of the allocated funds.
The soccer governing body’s general secretary Alfred Gunda could not provide the association’s budget for the next three months.
“What we have is an annual projection of over K1.3 billion for the national teams. This is looking at both men and women’s senior and junior teams in respective competitions,” he said.
However, Sports Council’s documents shows that FAM submitted K400 million supplementary budget.
FAM wants K150 million for Under-17 Cosafa Cup hosting, K70 million for the Under-17 national team preparations for the same tournament and K169 million for the women football team’s Cosafa Championship participation and Olympic Games qualifier against Kenya.
If FAM gets that chunk and the council gets the operations cut, it will leave the other sports codes and programmes with less than K100 million to finance their operations.
Reacting to the development, Basketball Association of Malawi (Basmal) general secretary Edgar Ng’ong’ola said it was unfortunate that despite a myriad of outcries, sports is still underfunded.
“From those figures, we will obviously not get what we asked for. It is sad that sports is still deprived of funding. It is not surprising that we fail to win medals at international competitions,” he said.
Ng’ong’ola said, on average, his body submits to the Council a budget of around K100 million every year, but only it only around K1 million.
Athletics Association of Malawi (AAM) said they will need K6 million within the stipulated budget period to fund six athletes’ trip to the World Athletics Championship in Qatar.
Its general secretary Frank Chitembeya said they submitted a K42 million annual budget to the council but feared that the K660 million allocation does not paint a rosy picture.
“Every year we are given around K1.7 million having requested for K39 million on average. Though this is just a provisional budget it doesn’t give us any hope that we will get better funding this year,” he said.