Poor funding threatens Bingu Stadium, owes Escom K22m

Bingu National Stadium (BNS) and Civo Stadium have been struggling to operate due to inadequate funding from government.

Water and electricity bills having been piling while maintenance projects have stalled at the two stadiums.

Currently, BNS does not have power after Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) disconnected the stadium from its grid.

BNS owes Escom K22 million in accumulated bills.

Minister of Labour, Youth, Sports and Man Power Development Francis Kasaila said they are hoping Treasury will rescue the facility.

BNS spokesperson Ireen Nkhokwe said they are now relying on a generator for their operations.

Government allocates about K3 million to BNS each month for operations, according to a source.

“It is tough for us to operate because electricity bill each month is about K7 million and water it is around K1 million,” said the source said, adding that the same money is also for salaries of support staff not on government payroll.

Civo Stadium is also facing the same challenges.

The facility has been a victim of water and electricity disconnections due to unpaid bills.

All these struggles, according to officials, are a result of inadequate support from the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) which owns the stadium, clubhouse, basketball court and other surrounding sports facilities.

Rashid Mtelera, secretary  to the Civo board, admitted that they have struggled to keep the facility in shape.

He said: “We have always wanted to improve the facilities,  but our dreams are usually shattered by lack of funds. However, we have been assured by government that we will be given resources to initiate renovations.”

Meanwhile, analysts have warned that the development risks plunging the two institutions into a fate similar to the closed Kamuzu Stadium, which is in ruins.

Chikumbutso Kalilombe called for immidiate action on BNS.

He said: “In my view, the management of that stadium [BNS] should be different from Civo and Kamuzu stadiums.

“That stadium needs to have either a special management team that is semi autonomous or have it partly subcontracted. Whatever arrangement we adopt should target that the stadium be self-sustaining.” n

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