Malawi Government has maintained the K120 million (about $300 000) package for the Presidential Initiative on Sports (PIS) in the 2013/14 budget despite Youth and Sports Minister Enoch Chihana assuring the nation of increased sponsorship to K200 million (about $500 000).
The development comes against the background of complaints which associations raised that the PIS package needed to be reviewed considering the current high cost of living.
During the launch of this year’s competition in Mzuzu in March, Chihana gave his word that government would consider raising the sponsorship so that it boosts sports development in the country.
But according to Malawi National Council of Sports (MNCS) executive secretary George Jana and Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Youth and Sports Alex Mseka, the package has not been reviewed.
“The PIS is regulated by government, but the figure that we have is still K120 million. It has not been revised,” said Jana.
On his part, Mseka said: “I have not checked the documents because it comes under the Department of Statutory Corporations, but the assumption is that the figure is still the same, it has not changed.”
But Chihana on Thursday said it was a bit too early to comment because the budget is still under discussion.
“Because we can propose a hike, but it is up to Parliament to either reject or approve,” he said.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) president Walter Nyamilandu said they will still petition government on the issue.
“What was K60 million [about $150 000] three years ago is not the same today. So, we will still push the issue with government because you never know they might pursue other avenues.
“This [Presidential Cup] is not an ordinary competition, it is a presidential initiative and the Head of State might have other ideas,” said Nyamilandu.
Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) president Rosy Chinunda also said her association is struggling to meet the challenges of managing the tournament because the money is not enough.
Last year, FAM and NAM pleaded with government to consider raising their respective packages which are pegged at K60 million and K30 million respectively, but government snubbed the plea.
Director of sports in the ministry, Jameson Ndalama, then faulted the two associations for failing to justify in writing, their sponsorship demands.
“We know that the figure has been like that for a long time, but we also report to our superiors and they obviously can ask for a basis of the revision. Few associations that do not even get much from the K120 million are the only ones that submitted the proposals,” Ndalama was quoted as saying.
But FAM chief executive officer Suzgo Nyirenda and Chinunda countered that they submitted the proposals seeking sponsorship revision.
Nyirenda said the budget for this year’s tournament increased to K70 million (about $175 000) against the K60 million that is allocated by government.
The development led to the association increasing the registration fees that saw teams at district level parting with K5 000 (about $12) each, up from K1 000 (about $2.50), representing a 400 percent increase.
The fees for women and youth tournaments was hiked to K5 000 from K2 000 (about $5) whereas those for regional and Super League teams rose by 50 percent from K5 000 to K7 500 ($18) and K10 000 ($25) to K15 000 (about $37.50) respectively.
This led to the tournament being hit with low registration at district level with some sections attributing it to the hiked fees
Former Sports Minister Symon Vuwa-Kaunda then asked for government intervention arguing that the hike in registration fees defeated the whole purpose of the initiative.
The PIS will be sponsored to the same tune for a sixth consecutive year.