Sports federations and associations have welcomed the decision of Parliament to investigate the activities of the National Council of Sports (NCS). This comes two weeks after Anita Among, the speaker of parliament, put together a seven-person committee led by Laura Kanushu, an MP for the National Female PWDs, to look into NCS.
The other members are Bukooli Central MP, Solomon Silwany; Bukomansimbi South MP, Geoffrey Kayemba Solo; and Bunya South MP, Isabirye Iddi, among others. The decision was made by the speaker after the MP for the Bugiri Municipality, Asuman Basalirwa, told the house that he had heard that many sports federations had not received any funding this fiscal year, even though they were running activities that needed government help.
In her presentation to the house, the Minister of State for Privatization, Evelyn Anite, noted that the Finance Ministry had so far released 6.3 billion shillings out of the 47.6 billion shillings allocated to the Sports Sector this financial year. Her report generated heated debate, considering that Basalirwa had said that the federations had not received funding. So, the speaker decided to look into how the NSC decides which sports federations and associations to give money to.
Some federations have applauded the decision by the parliament, noting that they have long questioned the inconsistencies of the NCS without receiving any response. According to Moses Muhangi, President of the Uganda Boxing Federation (UB), while parliament agreed to set aside a specific amount of money for each federation, the NSC has been acting in the opposite direction.
“The funds that come into the sector and the way they are distributed to the federations lack a criterion that is agreeable to all of us. “We all need funds to compete in international competitions and run the federations.” “The challenge is when some federations get supported and others don’t, then questions arise on why some federations are supported and others are not,” he said.
When asked if UBF received any funds this fiscal year, Muhangi stated that boxing has not received any funds as far as he is aware. “Until today we have received zero money from the NSC for two quarters, and there is no explanation. “When you start talking, the council says what the parliament did, and we do not agree with it,” he said.
Muhangi said they attended the African Boxing Championship in Maputo but still did not get any funding from the government. “We went to the African Games in Maputo, but we did not get any support from the council.” “We have missed the IBA Youth Men’s and Women’s World Boxing Championships 2022 in Spain, the world championship for the men’s team in Serbia, and the 2022 IBA Women’s World Boxing Champions,” he told URN.
Robert Jaggwe, who is the president of the Uganda Table Tennis Association (UTTA), said that even though many federations have tried and failed to talk to the NCS about this issue, the involvement of parliament is a big step forward.
“NCS officials have declined to respect the Parliamentary Ring Fence.”
They abandoned it in favor of their own preferred expenditure of the sports funds. “The real problem is that, as National Federations, we have been asking NCS since 2018 to finalize the sports funding guidelines for Uganda so that those funds can be distributed fairly,” Jaggwe told URN.
“For some reason, the process to complete those guidelines has been excessively delayed and remains incomplete up to today. We have also tried to get NCS to tell us openly how they decide how to spend our money, but to no avail.
“This information remains secretly guarded like the nuclear launch codes of some countries.” “Some of us believe that this is intentional by some people to ensure that they continue to control our sports funds and spend them at their discretion,” he added.
The Minister of Finance, Planning, and Economic Development, Matia Kasaija, said during the presentation of the 2022–23 fiscal year budget that the sports sector had received a record budget increase of 47.81 billion shillings, up from 18 billion shillings in the previous fiscal year.
The sector didn’t receive any funding in the first quarter and only received $2.3 billion in the second quarter. But the Ministry gave out another 4 billion shillings after Patrick Ochailap, the Deputy Secretary to the Treasury, met with NSC officials, Sports Federation Presidents, and others in October of this year.
However, it is alleged that none of the federations has received any funding so far. In October, FUFA President Moses Magogo revealed that the Federation was forced to withdraw the National Under-23 team from the Olympic qualifiers due to a lack of funds to facilitate the team. It is worth noting that the budget increase occurred concurrently with the Parliament’s allocation of funds to specific federations.
The FUFA was allocated the lion’s share of the budget, with Shs 17 billion of the Shs 47.8 billion allocated to the sector. Each of the Athletics, Boxing, and Netball Federations should get Sh3 billion, while Cricket, Rugby, Basketball, the Paralympics, and Motorsport should each get Sh1.2 billion.NCS has not yet commented on the investigations, as the general secretary couldn’t be reached by the time of publishing this story.
The National Council of Sports (NCS) is established under the NCS Act of 1964 to, among other things, develop, promote, and control sports activities in Uganda on behalf of the government, under the Ministry of Education and Sports. Together with the National Sports Associations and Federations, the Council plans all of the sports events in the country.
The council is in charge of 51 federations and associations, such as the Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA), the Uganda Cricket Association (UCA), the Federation of Uganda Basketball Associations (FUBA), the Uganda Boxing Federation (UBF), the Federation of Motor Sports Associations of Uganda (FMU), and others.