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Sports associations call for equitable funding

Representatives from the different sports federations before the Committee on Education and Sports

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Sports associations have asked Parliament to intervene in the disbursement of funds by the National Council of Sports (NCS) which they accuse of impartiality.

While meeting the Committee of Education and Sports on Tuesday, 31 January 2023, the representatives of the sports associations said that NCS gives funds to associations of their choice and in quantities whose criteria is unknown.

“You cannot say that this sports association deserves Shs5 million and another deserves pea nut. Why do you want to give funds secretly? The way NCS is distributing sports money is very poor,” said Jjagwe Robert, the President of Uganda Table Tennis Association.

He said the associations have overtime demanded for guidelines on distribution of funds which he added has remained secretive.

“We have often proposed that NCS develops clear funding guidelines known to all sports federations and associations such that each one of us knows how much we ought to receive annually,” Jjagwe said.

Jjagwe together with other sports associations were making submissions on the two sports bills before the committee.

The Physical Activity and Sports Bill, 2022 was moved by Moses Magogo, Budiope East County MP and the National Sports Bill, 2021 was tabled by the Ministry of Education and Sports.

Sam Muwonge, the President of Uganda Cycling Association asked the committee to consider increasing funding to the sector saying that sports men and women face struggles during international tournaments.

“We propose that government funds sports from preparations, travel and purchase of equipment. We find challenges importing the modern sports equipment necessary for us to compete favorably on international level,” said Muwonge.

Muwonge asked for tax reduction on sports equipment as a way of enabling more people to participate in the sector.

Parliament was also urged to allocate funds for operations of the sports associations and federations said to be currently run by volunteers.

“If you want us to execute the mandate of the sports sector to the level desired by the country finance the secretariats,” Jjagwe said.

The committee members expressed concern with the quality of sports despite the increase in funding by government and asked the sports associations to come up with a robust strategy to grow the sector.

“Why is it that some time back the Federation of Uganda Football Association used to perform well with little funding? Why are we not getting results with more funding? Don’t we have good players,” Brenda Nabukenya, Luwero District Woman MP said.

The Older Persons’ Representative for Western Uganda, Joram Tiibasimwa, said there is need for the sports associations to look into other opportunities of funding other than government, which he said may never satisfy the needs of each association.

“As far I can see in this country, government cannot manage supporting sports organisations to the desired level. We need to look at other alternatives, for example what can we do to attract commercial enterprises to finance sports activities?” Tibasiimwa added.

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