Committee Investigating Sports Funding Asked to Summon Players

Parliament’s select committee inquiring into the operations of the National Council of Sports –NCS has been asked to summon players and athletes of different sports federations to submit their views on the alleged mismanagement of funds.

The appeal was made by Bugiri Municipality MP, Asuman Basalirwa, who appeared before the committee on Thursday as one of the key witnesses in the ongoing inquiry.

Basalirwa was one of the Members of Parliament who reported before the House inconsistencies in appropriated figures by Parliament and released them to the sports sub-sector. The MPs also questioned the inconsistencies in money given to different sports federations without clear criteria.

This sparked off a heated debate last month and prompted the Speaker of Parliament, Anita Among to commission an inquiry.

While appearing before the committee, Basalirwa appealed to its leadership to invite different players, referees, umpires, and athletes to submit their views on the current financial challenges.

“You will be shocked, you will understand their challenges with the council and the sports federations,” said Basalirwa.

He added that the financial crisis in the sports sub-sector is responsible for the withdrawal of the National Football team from the 2023 African Nations Championship (CHAN) scheduled for early next year in Algeria.

Basalirwa said the withdrawal was an international embarrassment, and that it will drop the rankings of Uganda Cranes.

“How can we withdraw from continental competition? This story and that of She Cranes in Australia will be a big international embarrassment. The Finance Ministry is becoming a very big obstacle to the sports sub-sector, Parliament appropriates money but the ministry makes budget cuts, this is unconstitutional,” he said.

Basalirwa also blamed the NCS for failing to release funds to the different sports federations as appropriated by Parliament.

Amos Lugoloobi, the Minister of State for Planning, told the select committee that his ministry has currently released 36.8 percent of the budget appropriated to the sector as opposed to the desired 50 percent release by this year.

He said that they had released 17.61 billion Shillings to the National Council of Sports to facilitate wages and the various sports federation. 

Lugoloobi also said that Finance Ministry has released 2 billion Shillings out of the required 6 billion Shillings by the Federation of Uganda Football Association -FUFA to participate in the next years under 23 African Nations Championship (CHAN).

Lugoloobi also said that the country needs to prioritize certain sports for better funding.

MPs suggested that each sports federation’s budget is ring-fenced and coded at the level of appropriation by Parliament.     

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