Local netball giants Kukoma Diamonds have suffered a huge blow after their sponsor Capital Oil Refining Industries (Cori) announced its withdrawal of sponsorship effective December 31.
Cori issued a press statement Monday citing the introduction of Value Added Tax (VAT) on refined cooking oil as the main reason for the company’s withdrawal of sponsorship.
“It is with great regret that Capital Oil Refining Industries (Cori) announces the withdrawal of Kukoma Diamonds sponsorship. This termination is effective 31st December 2020. While Cori has always enjoyed sponsoring Kukoma Diamonds, unfortunately the current economic climate leaves us without funds to contribute to the team at this time.
“As you may recall, Parliament recently passed the 2020/21 National Budget which introduced 16.5 percent value added tax (VAT) on refined cooking oil. Following this introduction we are not able to operate successfully,” reads part of the statement signed by Cori’s Sponsorship Coordinator Violet Kapolo.
The company states it injects K12 million sponsorship annually to Diamonds and, plus add-ons, the amount rises to K15 million.
“However, should we find ourselves in a position to offer sponsorship in the future we will of course hope to resume our sponsorship of Kukoma Diamonds,” the statement further reads.
In a separate interview, Kapolo said Cori was able to pay players upkeep allowances during the Covid-19 pandemic underlining its commitment to the team.
“Now we can’t make any other sacrifices. The VAT has affected our operations in many ways,” she said.
In a written response, Diamonds Chairperson Lumbani Mtonyo said they were waiting for official communication.
“Cori management recently briefed us about plans to withdraw sponsorship due to the recently introduced VAT on refined cooking oil. We are yet to be notified officially. It is disturbing news but we hope to strike a balance at the end of it. We hope Cori will reconsider its stand because their sponsorship was also helping a lot of players to make a living. Besides that Cori’s sponsorship was also helping in improving the performance of the Queens as we contribute a bulk of players to the senior side,” she said
Mtonyo asked Cori management to review its decision and also requested the government to meet companies that are complaining following VAT introduction.
“Moving forward we will engage both Cori directors and management to reconsider their stand. We will also call for the Minister of Sports to intervene in the matter,” she said.
Diamonds have dominated the local netball scene since Cori started sponsoring the side in 2013. The side has won every major trophy in the country including the Presidential Cup, disbanded GOtv Netball Champions League, defunct Airtel Money National netball trophy and Rainbow Paints Blantyre and Districts Netball League.
The side has over 40 players for both main and reserve sides.