KAMPALA- Uganda’s sports budget is expected to increase to Shs27.1bn for the new financial year starting July 1.
According to the Minister of State for Sports Charles Bakkabulindi, this money has gradually grown from Shs400m when he was first appointed in
Bakka was speaking at the first National Council of Sports (NCS) and National Sports Association/Federations (NA/Fs) Forum at Copper Chimney – Lugogo on Tuesday.
The quarterly meeting is statutory and is meant to help the Minister liaise with fellow sports administrators to draw strategies for developing the sector but was largely dominated by cries for more funding, unsurprisingly.
Handball and darts even asked NCS to help them settle affiliation fees to their respective international federations (IFs).
Federation of Motorsport Clubs Uganda (FMU) president Dusman Okee asked “what yardsticks are used to distribute money to NAs”.
Netball’s Susan Anek said they had “booked accommodation and confirmed She Cranes’ participation at the World Cup (in Liverpool in July)” but wanted to know when NCS would come good on the promise for air tickets. Rollball’s Thomas Bamuteze, also taking a team to the Worlds, claimed there was an Animal Farm syndrome in the sector. “Bigger sports that are not performing get a lot of funding while those doing their best are not recognised.”
“You’re asking for audited accounts but many of us are funding these federations from our own pockets. How do we account for that?”
National Paralympics Committee (NPC) chairman Bumali Mpindi, re-echoed with “many of us are still in debt over funding the Para-badminton International that was hosted at the Arena.”
Boxing head Moses Muhangi, who is unhappy about Fufa’s Shs10bn donation from President Museveni, was at it again.
“What is the priority about boxing? Our coaches and athletes are not paid like Fufa’s. We have no facilities.
“If we (priority sports like boxing, athletics) win six medals at the Commonwealth Games, what is the plan to have us win 20 at the Olympics?” he questioned.
“Accountability should be beyond paper-work and involve value for money in terms of performance. Federations cannot take money on the claim that they have large number of fans.”
His message was amplified by swimming’s Dr. Donald Rukare, who said the forum must include other stakeholders like sponsors and nutritionists and must discuss what the indicators for measuring success area. Tennis’s Cedric Babu asked NCS to “communicate to us how we can develop our respective federation budget requirements to fit in to the macro one sent to Parliament.”
All federations agreed in unison when ludo’s general secretary Faisal Katumba, said NCS should set “a minimum amount (threshold) each federation should get with requests for more depending on activities.”
Fufa president Moses Magogo, looked beyond the ‘Fufa-UBF’ fights when he rose to agitate for professionalization.
“It is a bit of the egg-chicken story because you need money to professionalise but when you professionalise you make money.
“Sport is competing with other sectors and must offer something more than medals to government. 70 per cent of our population is below 30 years and over 80 per cent of them are unemployed. Government has a challenge here but sport can employ these people and that is what we need to sell.
“Fufa is getting Shs10b but we give back Shs1.5bn per year in taxes,” Magogo said, as he asked for better laws to streamline the growth. He also re-echoed hockey leader Lydia Dhamuzungu’s request for tax waivers on sports equipment.
The under-secretary for the Ministry of Education and Sports Aggrey Kibenge stated that “recent performances had positively changed the perception of sports in the ministry.”
“Netball, football and athletics have given us reason to set lots of things aside to find the money they need to travel.”
He called upon federations to plan in time and with line to the budgeting process and insisted that “growth requires initial investment at athlete or federation level especially in terms of qualification then add-ons from government can come depending on performance.”
NCS acting general secretary said a better “funding policy is in its late steps of review and will come into effect on July 1,” while Bakkabulindi confirmed the new law in offing “will require federations to also declare what they get from IFs and other external sources.”