Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Uganda Table Tennis Association is hunting for Shillings 25 million to host the upcoming East Africa Regional Senior Championships slated for November 28-30th at Pope Paul Memorial Centre in Kampala.
The Uganda Table Tennis Association President, Robert Jaggwe, says that 14 countries are expected to participate in the championships. They include among others Kenya, Tanzania, Eritrea, Somalia, Rwanda, Madagascar, Seychelles, Comoros, Sudan, South Sudan and the hosts Uganda among others.
According to Jagwe, while the association submitted a funding request of Shillings 25 million to the National Council of Sports-NCS in September, they haven’t received the money. He says they reminded the NCS in early October, about their financial needs to ensure smooth organization for the championships.
The funds are meant for booking Pope Paul Memorial Centre, buying equipment, paying umpires and referees, hotels and airport pickups among other activities. Dr. Bernard Patrick Ogwel, the General Secretary National Council of Sports referred Uganda Radio Network to Alex Kakooza, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education on the issue of funding.
Kakooza confirmed the delayed release of funds to NCS over the past weeks due to the need to get approvals for certain reallocations from ministry of finance. He however, says the Education Ministry will release funds to NCS within the next two days so as to finance the 48 sports associations and federations including Uganda Table Tennis Association.
He says the approval and payment process took two weeks. NCS has been allocated Shillings 26 billion for the 2019/2020 financial year of which Shillings 10 billion is for the Federation of Uganda Football Associations-FUFA. The Table Tennis Association expects to receive Shillings 50 million in total by the end of the 2019/2020 financial year. Half of this amount is budgeted for the Eastern Africa Championships.
About the delayed release on the funds, the Director Budget at Ministry of Finance, Kenneth Mugambe, says the Education Ministry delayed to process its warrants of payments, which has taken about two months. The delays have seen a number of sports federations and associations complain about delayed release of funds in the second quarter.
Mugambe explains that while the finance ministry released funds for the second quarter of the 2019/2020 financial year on October 02, 2019, the Education Ministry and its agencies including National Council of Sports have not received funds to date due to pending payment approvals. He says although the approval process took two months, money should be on the accounts of the Ministry and NCS by the end of Monday (yesterday). So far, Shillings 13 billion out of of Shillings 26 billion has been released in the last two quarters to NCS.
Apart from Jaggwe of the Table Tennis Association, other leaders including Lydia Dhamuzungu, the head of the Hockey Association told URN that they have not received any funds in the last two months. Mugambe says that the sports associations are right to complain because the process to approve the changes in the education ministry budget took close to two months.
Jaggwe has welcomed the news, saying that he is hopeful that the association will get the funds before end of the week to make up for lost time. Also, amidst the delays in releasing the funds, Jaggwe says that the International Table Tennis Federation- ITTF has donated among other items, 8 new competition tables, 8 point counters, 6 umpire chairs and 400 lots of balls.
About the Championships
This is a singles competition, where every country will field 2 males and 2 females. Uganda, as hosts, will however field 4 females and 4 males at the championship.
Winners will get US $400 (approximately Shillings 1.4 million), 2nd placed player will get US$200 (Around Shillings 760,000) while 3rd and 4th placed players will get $ 100 US Dollars (approximately Shillings 360,000).
The winner of the championship in the men and women’s category will participate in the Olympic Qualifier to be held in Tunisia early 2020.