Life has returned to normal at Bingu National Stadium (BNS) as Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) Limited has reconnected the facility to the national grid after government cleared an outstanding K27 million bill.
The Lilongwe stadium has been unable to operate efficiently in the past three weeks after losing power due to accumulative bills.
Confirming the re-connection yesterday, BNS acting operations manager McMillan Mwale said he was pleased that they will be able to conduct business again.
Apart from hosting football matches, the stadium generates revenue from holding conferences, workshops and various sports events.
“Operations scaled down as we could not host some events in the absence of power as the rooms were dark, watering the grounds was a challenge as motors need power,” Mwale said.
Meanwhile, the acting operations manager has said they have asked government for more funding to cater for utility bills to avoid power disruptions.
“In addition, we have put mechanisms as stadium management to ensure that water for example is properly managed. Switching off lights in empty rooms and also watering pitches off-pick hours.”
Mwale also appealed to stadium users to use the electricity and water responsibly.
“We ask people that come to the stadium to be responsible when using water and electricity as it is supposed to be collective responsibility to take care of the national asset,” he pointed out.
Meanwhile, economist Chiku Kalilombe has urged government to improve the way it operates the stadium.
“The current scenario with Bingu Stadium is a catastrophe and it’s sad. We need an operating model for that stadium that makes it self-sustaining. This has to be in tandem with current trends in the soccer world elsewhere,” he said.
Kalilombe said the best move would be to “outsource management for a while and make it a standalone entity covering its own bills. Once viable government can collect a standard fee to assist cover the loan repayment to China.”
Government constructed the 40 000-seater stadium with a loan from the Asian nation.