BY STEVEN WYSON
For the past five years, government has only allocated K551 million for the rehabilitation of Kamuzu Institute for Sports (KIS) which is projected to cost K19 billion, according to the budget documents show.
The pitiful funding inflow casts doubt over the readiness of the facility to host the African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 in 2022 when under-20 athletes from over 10 countries are expected to compete in various sporting disciplines.
According to the Public Sector Development Programme 2019, a budget document that outlines various development projects for the next three years, KIS received K500 million in the past five years.
The project was earmarked for redevelopment in 2014 and is expected to be completed in 2023.
Meanwhile, government has allocated K500 million in the 2019/20 National Budget for the project, meaning in the next two financial years, K18 billion will have to be allocated to ensure it is completed within the set period.
The Malawi National Council of Sports (MNCS), which is central to AUSC games coordination, said the funds allocated to the project are not enough.
“However, it is worthwhile to point out that some funds have been allocated. It’s better to start than not,” MNCS acting executive secretary Henry Mereka said.
He said the council had earmarked KIS to be the hub of the African Union Games with all the crucial sports disciplines’ facilities in place.
“We want it to be a sports village complete with hostels and cafeteria including an indoor gymnastics theatre,” Mereka said.
He said the specific facility they would want government to prioritise is a swimming pool.
“We don’t have a standard pool for swimming competitions. It is our wish, therefore, that we have one at the Kamuzu Institute in readiness for the Games,” Mereka said.
The Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture was coy to explain how the K551 million was spent.
In a response to a questionnaire, the ministry’s spokesperson Symon Mbvundula said: “Our project officer shall document that and share with you.”
He, however, expressed optimism that government will pump in enough resources so the project meets the completion deadline. “Funding is indeed in adquate but government is committed and we believe that funding shall improve so that the facility is ready in time for AUSC Games,” Mvundula said.