… As NSC receives a paltry N$21.6m from Govt
THE Namibian Sports Commission (NSC), which dishes out annual grants to the country’s sport codes, says that the N$21.6 million it will receive from Government during the current financial year is a whopping N$164 million less than what it had initially budgeted for.
NSC Chairperson, Joel Matheus, confirmed to Confidente this week that the initial budget they had submitted to Government, through the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service, was N$200 million, which it was later forced to revise downward to N$36 million.
He said that as a result of this, the country’s sport codes would now face budget cuts this year of between 35 to 45 percent each.
“Everybody will need to readjust their programmes, to survive these huge grant cuts; international participation will also be affected, due to the limited budget at the disposal of the commission,” warned Matheus.
Asked on what basis the NSC will dish out the annual grants to the various sport codes this year, Matheus said, “We will use the current category structure and some administrative funds will be allocated to at least 90 percent of the sport codes and federations. However, only a few allocations will be allowed to sport codes for developmental purposes.”
Matheus also echoed fears that Namibia’s international participation will be affected by the budget cuts.
“Yes, we have seen this coming. Namibia’s absence at international participation already started last year. In many sporting codes, we have failed to honour our international commitments, which can attract sanctions, as the honourable minister (Jerry Ekandjo) has stated,” he said.
Asked how much is earmarked for Namibia’s participation internationally, and which sport codes had submitted financial requests to compete on the global stage, the NSC chairperson said that the budget allocations for the various codes had not been finalised, and that a clear picture would emerge once this process has been completed.
“It’s not easy for me to know which sport codes have applied, as that is an administrative matter,” said Matheus.
He also brushed off any talk of a reduction in the number of sport codes of which fifty plus are already affiliated to the NSC.
“No, we will not do that. Our mandate is to ensure that each and every Namibian has the opportunity to participate in sport, regardless of our financial situation,” said Matheus.
Asked if some programmes would be compromised, due to the huge budget cuts, Matheus said, “We are still in the process of determining the clear direction and objectives of the NSC, given the current financial situation.”
“After we have done so, and consulted with our stakeholders, in order to agree on priority areas, we will then decide what needs to be compromised. All I can say now is that we will never compromise programmes that add value to the operations of the NSC and its stakeholders,” he added. Asked which sport codes should enjoy priority, in terms of funding, the NSC chairperson said they do not want to discriminate against any sport code.
“It’s our job to ensure that opportunities for growth are available to everyone. However, we are more prepared to work with sport codes that are pushing the national development agenda, and not only those that are investing their efforts in the community around them. Therefore, I say all sport codes are expected to deliver, if they want to enjoy priority,” Matheus said.
With the 2018 Commonwealth Games slated for Queensland, Australia in April next year, and the 2019 All-Africa Games scheduled to take place in Equatorial Guinea, Matheus admitted that he is afraid that the budget cuts will affect Namibia’s preparations and the number of athletes the Land of the Brave will send.
“For example, in the event where we want to send five or more athletes (to qualify), we might be forced to send less than five athletes, due to budget cuts.”
He said the budget cuts will also force them to limit the exposure the country can give to up-and-coming athletes, who could end up qualifying for global events.
“In critical times, we must apply critical thinking; I believe that now is the time that we really start working closely together with our stakeholders, in order to effectively prioritise spending.”
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015