It is with great disbelieve that I painfully digest the announcement that the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service budget for the 2017/18 financial year was slashed with more N$100 million after it received a mere N$385 million for the new financial year when compared to the N$491 million it got in the last financial year.
The figures were contained in Minister of Finance Calle Schlettwein’s N$62.5 billion national budget for the 2017/18 financial year tabled in the National Assembly on Wednesday.
When one reads at the times and the financial struggles of the past few months that has almost crippled the entire local sports fraternity, one is left with no choice but to wonder what lays ahead for our local sports men and women.
A N$100 million slash from the budget of a ministry that has so many multifaceted functions activities is quite worrisome and invites a lot of questions than answers. I mean we are talking about a ministry that runs three equally demanding directorates; being the Sport, Youth and National Service Directorates.
All three of these directorates have equally urgent needs that uniformly demands and constantly jostles for the ministry’s limited resources. We are talking about a N$100 million cut from the ministry’s budget at a time were the country’s premier football league is dormant due to lack of funds, at a time were our various sport codes are forced to withdraw from important continental and international competitions due to insufficient funds or lack of financial support from government.
And not to mention the totally dried up coffers of the Namibia Sport Commission (NSC), which is the financing arm of the line ministry to all 52 national sport codes.
With an allocation of N$385 million for the 2017/18 financial year, it really remains to be seen how the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service will cater for the pressing needs of all three directorates – especially the sport directorate which has been on its knees for quite some time now.
But be as it may, maybe it is time for the various sport federations, especially the Namibia Sport Commission, to put its foot down and demand strict and effective use of public funds. The Namibia Sport Commission will have to up its game and make sure federations adhere to the set financial rules and regulations, including keeping a close eye on dubious sitting fees claimed by many board members of sport federations.
The Namibia Sport Commission should push for the quick implementation of the reviewed National Sport Act, which I hope will set and enforce standard traveling and sitting allowances for all board members as opposed to the case were some members claim exorbitant fees while others claim what they see fit.
With the kind of money the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service got for 2017/18 financial year, it calls for all of us to tighten our belts and spend within the required budgets allocated, while also accounting for every cent spend. Let accountability and more accountability be the theme for every sports federation this year.
Until next time, sharp sharp!!!