MK9bn swimming pool project raises eyebrows, Msungama defends it

Olympic Swimming Pool project in Malawi

Malawi's Minister of Sports, Ulemu Msungama has justified the decision to construct a K9.4 billion Olympic standard swimming pool and its ancillary structures at the Kamuzu Institute of Sports in Lilongwe.

The intention to award a contract to a Chinese company, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation published in the papers, did not go well with the public, as most of them argued it was on the higher side.

Some even argued that the swimming pool was not a priority considering other sectors that need Government’s eye.

But posting on his Facebook page on Thursday, Msungama said people need to understand the scope of the project as it is designed to international standards.

He said the facility is earmarked for international competitions like the All-Africa Championship and therefore needs designs and specifications to meet the standards.

That on its own means the project will not be cheap. A snap shot of the scope would provide further understanding; the complex will have two swimming pools, one 25m and the other 50m designed for training and competitions respectively. The pools are only 5 percent of the contract sum. The complex will have a gym for the athletes, this is another 5  percent of the contract. The complex will have a stadia around the swimming pool that allows spectators, this includes complete changing rooms, conference rooms and a VIP section, this is about 25 percent of the contract.

The complex will also have a social services center which takes about 5 percent of the contract. Another significant cost is the mechanical and electrical fittings of the complex to support the infrastructure that will be placed, this includes the roofing designs etc which is costing 15 percent of the contract. Last but not least, there will need to be massive earthworks on the location to prepare it for the said infrastructure, not to mention roads and pavements which also are 15 percent of the cost,” he said.

According to Msungama, people should not view the project only in the perspective of sports, but also job creation for Malawians.

Malawi is slated to host the African Union Sports Council Region 5 Youth Games.