Sports funding unaffected, funds ring fenced

The 2023/2024 Sports budget will focus on infrastructural development according to Speaker of Parliament Hon. Anita Among | Photo Credit: Jeremy Davidson

2023/2024 FY BUDGET Sports funding unaffected, funds ring fenced

Shafic Kiyaga 18:22 - 23.05.2023

Among reassured the nation that the sports budget will not be affected in the upcoming financial year, stating, "The sports budget will remain UGX 47 billion for the upcoming financial year.”

Parliament has affirmed its commitment to sports development by maintaining the sports budget at UGX 47 billion for the upcoming 2023/2024 financial year.

This decision comes on the heels of both positive developments and challenges faced by the sports sub sector.

With the Parliament championing Uganda’s bid to host the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), Speaker Hon. Anita Among has said the move is to emphasize the crucial need for infrastructural development in the country.

Among reassured the nation that the sports budget will not be affected in the upcoming financial year, stating, "The sports budget will remain UGX 47 billion for the upcoming financial year.”

“As parliament, we have ensured that the entire budget is ring-fenced against any budget cuts."

“We want to host [the 2027 AFCON], but we also want to improve on the infrastructural development for sports,” she added.

“As parliament, we are committed to support the co-hosting for AFCON, and our commitment comes with a financial provision of infrastructural development.”

“If you also wish to gauge our commitment, when we passed the budget, originally we did not have money for sports, in whichever budget was passed,” Among stated.

“But in the recent budget, we passed money for sports. Actually, that budget for sports is ring fenced, and not only football, but all the other sports disciplines will get their share.”

“As parliament, we shall make sure that sports [sub sector] get it share fully and as budgeted. And that is a commitment that we can give the sports industry,” she said.

During the 2022/2023 financial year, the sports budget experienced a substantial increase from UGX 17 billion to UGX 47 billion.

This boost was attributed to the remarkable performances of Ugandan athletes in international competitions, including the 2022 Olympics.

However, despite the increased budget allocation, the sports sector faced challenges as the government chose to allocate funds to other sectors due to the lingering effects of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Government implemented budget cuts, resulting in the sports sub-sector receiving a little over UGX 22 billion throughout the year.

Of which only UGX 300 million was released for the first quarter of 2023 [from January 20 to March 30].

Financial accountability within the sports sector has been a concern, as an audit revealed discrepancies in financial reports from the National Council of Sports and leading federations.

These findings raised questions about the sector's ability to effectively manage government funds.

Uganda's sports associations continue to call on Parliament to intervene in the disbursement of funds by NCS, accusing them of partiality and a lack of transparency.

During a stakeholder meeting with State Minister for Sport Peter Ogwang in January, Robert Jjagwe, President of the Uganda Table Tennis Association, expressed concerns over the unequal distribution of funds and urged the development of clear funding guidelines for all sports federations.

“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.

“You cannot say that this sports associations deserves UGX five million and another deserves pea nut. Why do you want to give funds secretly? The way NCS is distributing sports money is very poor,” he added.

The allocated funds will support various aspects, including infrastructural improvements, talent identification, participation in competitions, capacity building, and gender equality initiatives.