The estimated K812 million (about $2m) Sports Ministry budget for the 2013-14 financial year has omitted an allocation towards the construction of a multipurpose indoor netball court, Nation on Sunday has learnt.
In 2010-11 and 2011-12 national budgets, government allocated K50 million (about $125 000) to the project, but nothing has so far happened on the ground.
Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) president Rosy Chinunda described the omission as a setback to the development of netball in the country.
“Construction of an indoor netball court with a complete gym is one of my priorities. We have been failing to host big teams such as England, New Zealand and Australia because of lack of good facilities of international standard. This is a big blow,” she said.
“I was not aware of the development. We will have to discuss this with the Ministry of Sports. We might even go to the extent of lobbying members of Parliament to try and vouch for us. Infrastructure should not be about football alone. Netball too deserves recognition,” said Chinunda.
She also expressed fear that the K100 million (about $250 000) budget submitted to Malawi National Council of Sports might be cut.
But Malawi’s Sports Minister Enoch Chihana said the omission was deliberate because the netball court will be constructed using external funding.
He said the indoor court will be built alongside the National Stadium.
“Government has not shelved plans for the netball court. The project will go ahead, but we will use [external] funding. We have proposed that the National Stadium being constructed in Lilongwe should include a state-of-the-art netball court. NAM should be assured of that,” said Chihana.
In the estimated budget, K250 million is meant for the rehabilitation of floodlights at Kamuzu Stadium.
This is despite the Annual Economic Report under Construction and Rehabilitation of Sports Facilities, stating that ‘floodlights have already been installed, but are waiting for testing.’
However, Principal Secretary I in the Ministry of Sports Alex Mseka justified the funding, saying the project is ongoing.
“The allocation of K250 million towards the installation of the floodlights is completely justified as the project is an ongoing thing,” said Mseka.
Also in the estimated budget, K392 million (about $980 000) will go towards administration and salaries while the rest will be shared among sports associations.