Football Association of Malawi (FAM) and Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) annual government grants have been reduced from last year’s K100 million (about $147 000) and K101 million (about $147 500) respectively last year to K32 million (about $47 000) each in the proposed 2016/17 National Budget, triggering an outcry from several stakeholders.
This represents almost 68 percent reduction for each association.
Malawi National Council of Sports (MNCS) executive secretary George Jana revealed the cuts yesterday in Lilongwe during the council’s meeting with the Parliamentary Committee on Social and Community Affairs, which handles sports issues.
FAM and NAM, which represent the country’s most prominent sporting disciplines, are among 43 associations which rely heavily on government’s funding to finance national teams in international tournaments and organise local competitions.
Jana said the reductions have been effected because the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development had slashed its allocation towards the council from K1.3 billion (about $1.93million) last year to around K1 billion (about $1.5million) this year.
He said from the allocation, the associations will share K475 million (about $700 000) while the rest will go towards the operations of the council and affiliation fees to various international organisations and towards insurance.
He further said the reduced funding would lead to the country not fully participating at the Olympic Games in Brazil in August.
Jana said the council asked for K2.3 billion (about $3.45million) from Treasury for its activities in the forthcoming financial year.
“From that we were anticipating K100 million for the Olympic Games but now what it means is that we will only commit K20 million towards the event. It means some athletes will not be able to travel,” he said.
Jana also disclosed that the other associations will receive between K800 000 (about $1 200) and K1.7 million (about $2 550), jokingly remarking: “I think this does not represent a grant let us just call it a token.”
Meanwhile, the Social and Community Affairs Parliamentary Committee chairperson Richard Chimwendo Banda questioned why Treasury cut K300 million from last year’s budget.
“It is sad that instead of getting more funding sports has lost such a huge amount. I think, with such underfunding, it is not surprising that the Flames lost to Zimbabwe,” he said in reference to the national team’s 3-0 defeat in Harare.
Chimwendo Banda promised to lobby for more funding when his committee meets Treasury representatives.
FAM president Walter Nyamilandu described the reduced funding as disastrous for the national teams, saying: “It spells doom and gloom. The message is very clear from such reduced funding levels. It’s as good as not participating in international competitions.”
Apart from the remaining 2017 NAM general secretary Carol Bapu refused to comment saying she has not received funding communication from the council.
Both NAM and FAM asked for K500 million each from Treasury in the K1.1 trillion National Budget which is yet to be passed by Parliament. n