A recent Parliamentary report on Levy Mwanawasa Stadium (LMS) confirms previous reports that the stadium is cash strapped. LMS currently receives a grant of K84, 000 per month from GRZ while its total bills per month run at K173, 000. It is failing to narrow the gap and this will become harder as the facility ages.
In order to raise extra resources for the stadium, LMS management hires out the facility for weddings, kitchen parties and general meetings. It has 10 shops spaces which are yet to be leased out.
What is interesting that LMS lacks indoor sports facilities for basketball, volleyball or badminton. This means the stadium is rarely used as a general sports stadium. Most of the time it is just a white elephant as far as developing sports goes. Management wants to build these facilities but there's no money.
In any case they other more immediate problems like the water supply. LMS relies on the unreliable Kafubu Water and Sewerage Company (KWSC for its water. Not only is the water supply expensive, it's also erratic which affects general maintenance and hygiene. The facility ideally needs boreholes but again - there's no money.
There's also the other problem that the stadium lacks routine maintenance. The workers who were engaged during the construction of the stadium and were laid off following the completion of the construction. Some had the required knowledge about the facility in terms of routine maintenance. To hire them on a permanent basis requires more money.
Better ticketing could help make some money. LMS has no ticketing system which apparently affects accountability whenever matches are hosted. Management needs to install a ticketing checking equipment in order to maximise the sale of tickets at the Stadium. That too will need money.
In the end some believe LMS will continue to under perform until there's a legal framework to regulate the running of the facility as a commercially-driven entity so as to make itself reliant. But that won't necessarily solve the demand problem. The problem is not necessarily management. It is just lack of demand. the business model was broken without continuous government grants. The design was also not thought through. And with Lusaka and Mongu stadiums coming, LMS will face even more financial pressure.
Question : Is Levy Mwanawasa Stadium doomed? What can GRZ do to make it financially viable?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Chola Mukanga | Economist
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