Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Members of the Committee on Education and Sports want the ministry of Finance led by the Permanent Secretary/Secretary to the Treasury-Keith Muhakanizi to answer why shillings 10 billion was directly advanced to the Federation for Uganda Football Associations (FUFA) and not through the National Council of Sports (NCS).
The Committee chairperson, Jacob Opolot on Thursday noted that the ministry of finance should explain why the finance ministry did not send the funds to the accounts of the sport’s governing body NCS and yet FUFA has to meet certain requirements before funds can be released.
Opolot was reacting to a presentation from the NSC Acting General Secretary, Dr. Bernard Patrick Ogwel who revealed that the ministry of finance PSST instructed the council to ring fence shillings 10 billion out of a total of shillings 17.4 billion provided for the Council in the 2018/2019 financial year.
Ogwel explained that Muhakanizi said that the shillings 10 billion allocation was a presidential directive that was made after the national team-Uganda Cranes qualified for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in August 2018 and therefore, the council had to reallocate funds within its budget of shillings 16 billion to provide for the directive.
He noted that since FUFA had been allocated shillings 4 billion for the financial year, it meant that the council had to deduct more shillings 6 billion from the budget for the other 47 registered sports associations and federations.
This thereby left the other federations and sports associations including netball, basketball, boxing, cricket among others to share about shillings 2 billion, which caused disharmony and disunity in the sub sector.
He added that FUFA has also been allocated shillings 10 billion out of the shillings 25 billion allocated to NCS for 2019/2020.
Dr. Ogwel says that out of the remaining shillings 15 billion, NCS will get shillings 2.5 billion while associations and federations including Uganda Netball Federation will receive shillings 2 billion, Uganda Athletics Federation (shillings 1 billion ) and shillings 700 million to Uganda Boxing Federation among others.
However, the committee chairperson Opolot noted that apart from the presidential directive, he has also seen a letter where FUFA by-passed NCS and directly asked for shillings 1 billion to be front loaded to its accounts and yet it should have done so through the NCS.
He therefore wonders what special interests Muhakanizi has in FUFA that he must issue directives to NCS.
The Minister of state for Sports, Charles Bakkabulindi, who led the delegation from the ministry of education and sports, says that the ministry appreciates the increased funding to FUFA, but added that it has distorted the funding for other sports. Opolot thereafter directed the clerk to summon the PSST to respond to issues on funding the sports council.
Koboko MP, Margaret Baba Diri however asked how the ministry of education and sports officials feel about the direct involvement of the ministry of finance in the financing of FUFA.
The minister agreed with the committee, adding that FUFA should account to Muhakanizi for the shillings 10 billion it received in the 2018/2019 financial year.
Bakkabulindi says that much as the presidential directive was supposed to be a supplementary request from the ministry of finance, it was unfortunate that the ministry of finance instructed NCS to give the supplementary funds of shillings 6 billion to FUFA from within the fixed budget of shillings 16 billion.
Therefore, the ministry of finance should explain why it is dealing directly with FUFA and yet NSC has to account for grants in aid to sport associations and therefore, FUFA should account to ministry of finance for the shillings 10 billion allocation in 2018/2019.
Meanwhile, Ajuri County MP, Hamson Obua says that sports loving people including the minister, NSC and MPs are not bitter that FUFA received shillings 10 billion, it was to the disadvantage of the other sports associations and federations.
Therefore, he proposes that the education ministry should use the shilling 10 billion allocation to FUFA in the 2018/2019 and 2019 /2020 financial years as a precedent to demand for more funding to the sports sub sector.
MPs also demanded for the guidelines used to allocate funds to the sports associations, an issue that was highlighted in the Auditor General’s report for 2017/2018.
The report noted that NCS did not have a guide such as a funding policy, as a basis for allocation of funds to national associations and federations. Thereby, this creates “imbalances in the promotion of various sports.
The report also noted that although 45 associations were registered with National council of sports, there were no audited books of accounts for the current and previous years as required by NCS regulations, 2014.
Ogwel says that the funding policy is ready but is yet to be approved by the ministry of education and cabinet.