The Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority (PPDA) is yet to act on a request from the Ministry of Youth and Sports for addendum on the additional funding for the Griffin Saenda Indoor Sports Complex in Lilongwe over six months after submission.
Works at the arena as well as the Aquatic Centre have stalled for almost a year now as Treasury can only release additional funding for the two projects upon getting a determination from PPDA on the way forward.
In an interview on Friday, the ministry’s Principal Secretary (PS) Isaac Katopola said despite the technical hitches, they are determined to complete the projects.
He said: “We understand the public’s worry over the delay, but they should not lose hope because we are trying our best to complete the projects.
“We are only following the rules of the land and sorting out the technicalities that are beyond our control.
“Treasury is willing to disburse funding upon getting the determination. It is the government’s wish to complete these projects the soonest, but there are all these technical issues due to the change of scope.”
The PS also said apart from the technical hitches, “inflation has also impacted on the revised figures”.
Giving a background to the stalling of the Griffin Saenda Indoor Sports Complex project, Katopola said initially, it was only supposed to accommodate netball.
He said: “This was because we did not have an indoor facility where the Malawi National Netball Team could host matches, but the scope changed due to the 2022 African Union Sports Council Region 5 Youth Games as it was realised that we needed to construct a multi-purpose centre to accommodate other codes such as basketball, squash and tennis.
“So, changes were made just to make it possible to host the games, but at the time of the event, it was about 80 percent complete.
“The amount for the original contract was K7.8 billion, but after changing the scope, everything else changed and there was need to calculate the cost overrun which came up to K15.7 billion.
“It was, therefore, requested that we seek authority with the PPDA, so by February  we were in that fix whereby the project. Then we asked the Department of Buildings to undertake an addendum which was finalised in July and was submitted to the PPDA.”
Katopola also said since the overrun was over 100 percent, there were two options to be pursued and these were to re-advertise or carry out financial and technical audits “and PPDA opted for the latter”.
He said: “The Office of the Auditor General said they would only handle the financial audit while the other part [technical] needed an audit consultancy firm to determine the money that was required.
“GK Works Consultancy Group won the contract and they were given two months [September-October]. We were supposed to have the report in November, but the work was too much and they will only submit this month.
“So, in a nutshell, it was not possible to continue with the project, not necessarily because of funds, but PPDA.”
When contacted for comment on Friday through a questionnaire, PPDA spokesperson Kate Kujaliwa promised to revert, but she had not done so by press time at 5pm yesterday. On his part, Minister of Youth and Sports Uchizi Mkandawire also acknowledged the pressure they are getting from the public, but said he was optimistic that “the project will be completed soon”.