The government has allocated K2 billion to the Malawi National Council of Sports (MNCS) in the draft 2019/20 Budget which is currently being discussed in Parliament.
The allocation is K300 million more than the K1.7 billion it received in the previous national budget.
The council’s acting executive secretary Henry Mereka confirmed the new allocation, adding that it includes the K660 million it received in the supplementary budget in July.
Government is operating on a three-month provisional budget as the country was smarting from the May 21 Tripartite Elections and did not have time to formulate a full budget.
Mereka, who hailed the increment as catalyst for sports development, said they are planning to invest the funds in various sports initiatives, including infrastructure and sports awareness campaign.
“We have a programme where we want to persuade about six percent of the country’s population to be taking part in sports. This, we believe, will make Malawi a healthy nation and save resources which go into the health sector,” he said.
Mereka added that the council will also bankroll coaches’ training for various sports codes, saying: “The programmes will improve our performance, especially in international competitions.”
Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) general secretary Carol Bapu was optimistic that the increase would lead to increased funding for netball.
“Netball is a fast-growing sport globally, but funding challenges have somehow led to slow development in Malawi,” she said.
But Athletics Association of Malawi general secretary Frank Chitembeya said they do not expect much changes in their funding.
“Much as I appreciate the consideration, sports associations do not benefit. Sports Council is killing sports in Malawi because workers of the council foster their interests. A lot needs to be done,” he said.