Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The National Council of Sports (NCS) needs an annual budget of shillings 196 billion to fund all the 48 associations effectively and run its own activities in 2019/2020 financial year.
Dr. Bernard Patrick Ogwel, the NCS Acting General Secretary says that the ideal annual budget of the Council was approved in September 2017 in a document titled, “Ministry of Education and Sports Sector Strategic Plan 2017/2018-2019/2020”.
According to the plan, the government was expected to allocate shillings 187.8 billion in 2018/2019 and shillings 197 billion in 2019/2020.
However, the Council was allocated shillings 17.4 billion in 2018/2018 and is expected to get the same amount in the 2019/2020 proposed national budget.
Ogwel says that government funding is therefore not even half of what was approved in the strategic plan. He however commends the government for increasing council’s budget from shillings 300 million in 2000 to shillings 3 billion in 2013 and to shillings 4.4 billion in 2015.
Due to limited funding, the Council mainly finances national teams that qualify for international competitions and therefore has inadequate funds for development projects such as investing in sports academies and construction of at least one sports facility in a region.
He says that out of the shillings 17.4 billion to the Council, the Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA) has been allocated shillings 10 billion annually.
In the FUFA budget for 2018/2019, shillings 3.8 billion has been earmarked to finance the Uganda Cranes participation in the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals slated for late June to Mid-July. Ogwel argues that shillings 3.8 billion (approximately US $ 1 million Dollars) is inadequate compared to host Egypt that has invested about US $ 10 million Dollars in its national team for the competition.
Other activities in the FUFA budget include paying the National head coach US $20,000 Dollars (approximately shillings 75 million) monthly, the national assistant coaches, and also about 50 national players who receive shillings one million monthly.
Dr. Ogwel however says that FUFA’s shilling 10 billion will create inequality among the associations because budgets for the Council and the other 47 associations must be covered within the remaining shillings 7.4 billion. Ogwel says that the Council spends shillings 2.7 billion shillings annually and allocates the remaining shillings 4.7 billion for associations based on national interest. Therefore, some of the associations receive billions while some receive shillings 10 million a year from government.
For instance, the Council allocates shillings 3.7 billion annually to mainly Athletics (shillings 1.5 billion), Boxing Federation of Uganda (shillings 500 million), University Sports Associations (shillings 500 million) and shillings 150 million to the Paralympic Committee. Netball and Basketball federations receive shillings 1 billion annually.
He said some of the activities Council will finance in 2019/2020 include the 2019 Africa Games, Netball World Cup, qualifiers for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and also championships for specific associations.
Dr. Ogwel is now urging executive committees of associations to mobilise resources from other sources other than depending on government.
Ogwel’s acknowledgement of the funding inequality comes after some of the sports associations objected to the shilling 10 billion allocation to FUFA. The President of Uganda Boxing Federation, Moses Muhangi was among the leaders who criticized the move.
Muhangi says that NCS needs to finance associations based on performance and is concerned that there is heavy investment in football and yet it is mainly boxing and athletics that have won medals in the last 50 years.
Muhangi also argues that NCS should allocate the funds, little as they may be appropriately.
However, Muhangi is optimistic that the upcoming meeting between NCS and the presidents of all the 48 associations will yield results on equitable funding. The meeting is slated for May 28th.
Meanwhile, the Vice President (finance) of the Federation of Uganda Basketball Associations (FUBA), Robert Musisi says that much as government gave the federation shillings 1.6 billion in 2017/ 2018 and shillings one billion in 2018/2019, it is still inadequate. He says that between April to June 2019, the federation needs shillings 800 million but it has been allocated shillings 250 million.
Some of FUBA’s activities between April and June this year include Africa Beach Games in Cape Verde and also the All Africa Games.
Meanwhile, the National Director for Special Olympics in Uganda, Genevieve Bamwidhukire is grateful to NCS for funding some of its activities and yet it is not recognized by the NCS Act. Bamwidhukire says that Council has gone out of its way to ensure that inclusive sports gains traction in the country by not only funding Paralympics Federation for the persons with physical disabilities but also persons with intellectual disability who participate in the special Olympics.
For instance, Bamwidhukire says that in March, NCS provided close to shillings 190 million out of a total of shillings 345 million for 2019 World Games that took place in Abu Dhabi.
Dr. Ogwel says that when government releases shillings 197 billion in 2019/2020, all the associations will get adequate and equitable funding. However, if the government provides at least shillings 65 billion, then each association can get shillings 500 million a year.
For now, the Parliamentary committee on education has recommended that National Council is allocated shillings 26 billion so that FUFA’s allocation does not suppress the budget allocations for the other 47 associations in 2019/2020.
NCS was created in 1964 as the governing body to among others develop, promote and control sports activities in Uganda.