Government will not Fully Fund all Sports Federation activities but offer necessary support-DPS/ST Ocailap to NCS
By Our Reporter
The Ministry of Finance, Planning & Economic Development (MOFPED), on Wednesday hosted members of the sports fraternity to a consultative meeting on the funding dynamics in the sector.
Hailed as extremely important, timely and highly successful, this meeting at the MOFPED headquarters was hosted by the Deputy Permanent Secretary/Secretary to the Treasury (DPS/ST), Mr. Patrick Ocailap.
It was attended by the National Council of Sports (NCS) General Secretary Dr. Bernard Patrick Ogwel and his Secretatiat Staff, Council Member Hajji Zubair Galiwango who represented Council Chariman Ambrose Tashobya, the heads of various sports Federations and associations, as well the media.
At the meeting, Mr. Ocailap underlined the importance of sports to the development of the economy. He reassured members of the fraternity that government considered the sector top priority, but that funding for the sector would always be commensurate with the performance of the economy that had in recent times been hit by international incidents (including global pandemics and war in Europe), and reminded members to never underestimate but always factor the monster called inflation into the funding equation for the sector.
The DPS/ST cautioned the Federations and Associations to not expect government to fully fund all their operations and activities, but to offer as much support as was possible, and urged them to prioritise fixed costs (wages and salaries where applicable, as well as varied operation costs) in their projections for the 3rd and 4th quarters of this Financial Year. He also recommended the drafting of comprehensive strategic plans to inform the course(s) of action and intervention for the subsequent Financial Years, starting with the next.
This came about after NCS GS Dr. Ogwel had made an impassioned plea for MOFPED to prioritise subvention to sector considering that the 51 Federations and Associations had received next to nothing in the 1st quarter, and a ‘release’ way short of adequate for the 2nd. Dr. Ogwel assured the DPS/ST that an approved Strategic Plan was already in place, ready for implementation, but was being hampered by the size of the resource envelope.
The Federations and Associations themselves, led by FUFA President Eng. Moses Magogo (also a Member of Parliament), and with several contributions from the heads of different disciplines, added to Dr Ogwel’s voice by underlining the importance of sports to the country.
They urged government to categorise sports as productive rather than consumptive, a sector which needed government support to in turn attract sponsorships, generate income, pay taxes, as well as save the youths from among others, crime and disease, which all came at a much higher cost to the country.
They pointed out to the DPS/ST that perhaps the most popular decision and announcement government had made this Financial Year, one that had excited millions of Ugandans, had been to increase the Sports Budget, urging government to ensure that the increase was actually realised on the ground.
In turn, Council ‘Chairman’ Hajji Galiwango cautioned the Federation and Association heads not to rush to the media to negatively sensationalise funding matters that other stakeholders were working hard to make better.
Re-affirming government’s commitment to supporting the sector in the short and long term, Ocailap called on the Federations and Associations to return to the planning board with NCS, while the members present requested that this highly informative and positive interaction become regularised for the mutual benefit of all stakeholders and sports in the country.