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Federations rally behind Parliament to investigate NCS

FILE PHOTO: Speaker of parliament, Anita Among

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Sports Federations and Associations have welcomed the decision of Parliament to investigate the activities of the National Council of Sports (NCS). This comes two after the speaker of parliament, Anita Among constituted a seven-member select committee chaired by Laura Kanushu, the National Female PWDs MP to inquire into the affairs of NCS.

The other members are Bukooli Central MP, Solomon Silwany, Bukomansimbi South MP, Geoffrey Kayemba Solo and Bunya South MP, Isabirye Iddi among others. The speaker made the decision after the Bugiri Municipality MP, Asuman Basalirwa told the house that he had received information that many sports Federations had not received any funding this Financial year despite running activities that needed government facilitation.

In her presentation to the house, the Minister of State for Privatization, Evelyn Anite noted that the Finance Ministry had so far released Shillings 6.3 billion out of the Shillings 47.6 billion allocated to the Sports Subsector this financial year. Her report generated heated debate considering that Basalirwa had said that the Federations have not received funding. As a result, the speaker decided to investigate the criteria NCS follows to release funds to different sports federations and associations.

Some Federations have applauded the decision by the parliament, noting that they have long questioned the inconsistencies by the NCS without any response. Moses Muhangi, the President of the Uganda Boxing Federation, says that while parliament agreed to ring-fence the particular amount of money for each Federation, the NCS has been acting to the contrary.

“The funds that come into the sector, the way they are distributed to the federations without a criterion that is agreeable to all of us. We all need funds to compete in international competitions and run the Federations. The challenge is some Federations get supported and others don’t get the support, then questions arise on why some Federations are supported and others are not,” he said.

Asked whether UBF has received any funds in this financial year, Muhangi said Boxing has not received any coin as far as he knows. “Until today we have received zero money from the NCS for two quarters and there is no explanation. When you start talking the Council, says what parliament did we do not agree with it,” he said.

Muhangi said they attended the African Boxing championship in Maputo but still did not get any funding from the government. “We went to African games in Maputo but we did not get any support from the council. We have missed IBA Youth Men’s and Women’s World Boxing Championships 2022 in Spain, we missed the world championship for the men’s team in Serbia, and 2022 IBA Women’s World Boxing Champions 2022,” he told URN.

Robert Jaggwe, the President of the Uganda Table Tennis Association- UTTA, said that while there have been several attempts by Federations to engage the NCS on this matter, they have not yielded results and the intervention of parliament is a great step forward.

“NCS officials have declined to respect the Parliamentary Ring Fencing.

They abandoned it in preference of their own preferred expenditure of the Sports Funds. The real problem here is that as National Federations we have pleaded with NCS since 2018 to finalize the Sports Funding guidelines for Uganda in order to have a fair allocation of those funds,” Jaggwe disclosed to URN.

“For some reason, the process to complete those guidelines has been excessively delayed and remains incomplete up to today. We have also pleaded in vain with NCS to disclose openly to us, the formula they use for distributing our Funds.

“This information remains secretly guarded like the Nuclear Launch Codes of some Countries. Some of us believe that this is intentional by some people to ensure that they continue to control our Sports Funds and spend them at their discretion,” he added.

While presenting the 2022/23 financial year budget, the Minister of Finance Planning and Economic Development, Matia Kasaija, said the sports sector had registered a record budget increment to Shillings 47.81 billion from Shillings 18 billion provided in the last financial year.

The subsector didn’t receive any funding in the first quarter and only received Shillings 2.3 billion in the second quarter. However, the Ministry released another Shillings 4billion following a meeting of NSC officials, Sports Federation Presidents, and the Deputy Secretary to the Treasury, Patrick Ochailap in October this year.

It is however alleged that none of the Federations have received any funding so far. In October, FUFA President Moses Magogo revealed that the Federation was forced to withdraw the National Under 23 team from the Olympic qualifiers due to the lack of funds to facilitate the team. It is important to note that the budget increase coincided with the ring-fencing of money to specific federations by the Parliament.

The FUFA was allocated the lion’s share of the budget with Shillings 17billion of the Shillings 47.8billion allocated to the sector. Athletics Federation, Boxing Federation, and Netball Federation are expected to receive Shillings 3 billion each while Cricket, Rugby, Basketball, the Paralympics, and Motorsport would bag Shillings 1.2 billion. NCS has not yet commented on the investigations as the general secretary couldn’t be reached by the time of publishing this story.

The National Council of Sports (NCS) is established, under The NCS Act, of 1964, to among other things; develop, promote and control sports activities in Uganda on behalf of the Government, under the Ministry of Education and Sports. The Council coordinates all sports activities in the country, in conjunction with National Sports Associations/Federations.

The council oversees 51 Federations/Associations including the Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA), the Uganda Cricket Association (UCA), the Federation of Uganda Basketball Associations (FUBA), the Uganda Boxing Federation (UBF), the Federation of Motor Sports Associations of Uganda (FMU) and others.

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