…with only N$34 793 000 available for all sports related activities
By john Tuerijama
MINISTER of Sport, Youth and National Service Erastus Uutoni has said that the subsidies to the Namibia Sports Commission for the current financial year amounted to N$7 200 000 of which N$5 million was already earmarked for personnel expenditure.
Uutoni said this would leave the Directorate of Sport with a mere N$27 593 for its operations, including personnel expenditures and the development of grassroots sports.
In his budget motivation statement, late last month the Minister said, “During the tabling of our 2017/18 budget, my predecessor reiterated the fears of the Ministry, particularly with regards to our international obligation.
“In this regard, I similarly appeal that if sufficient resources are not allocated, we may face sanctions that will adversely affect Namibia from participating both regionally and internationally. “Taking cognisance of the many challenges as a country, I want to reemphasise that the plight of the youth development and sports promotion is evident that we need to reprioritise budget allocation to this Ministry, as youth and sport development is a critical component of nation building.”
Uutoni further said that the limited allocation to sport hindered the implementation of sports development programs in the country. He added that deplorable sports facilities made the practise of sports a challenge and hence many young Namibians were leaving the country in search of better sporting opportunities where their talents were appreciated, and they made a worthwhile living from their sporting careers.
“Non-participation in mandatory international events results in penalties, which are more costly than actual participation. The inadequate budget further restricts the procurement of sports equipment.
“This is because in other countries and continents sports are perceived as a lucrative industry, hence both government and the private sector make huge investments into their development.
“The lack of sports curriculum in institutions of higher learning in the country is a challenge that impacts the production of local physical education experts and teachers,” said Uutoni.
Looking at the planned programmes and activities for the 2018/19 financial year, the Minister said Namibia hast intentions to send a team to the Association of National Olympic Committee of Africa (ANOCA) Games in Algiers, Algeria scheduled for July.
He added that Namibia also intends to send a team of young athletes to the Youth Olympic Games scheduled for Buenos Aires, Argentina in October, as the games serve as qualifiers for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
Avoiding any possible suspension from international sport federations and associations, and Namibia being a member of the Africa Union Sport Council Region 5, is mandated to participate in the U-20 games of which a team of 254 athletes will participate in the youth games in Gaborone, Botswana in December.
“The All Africa Games will take place during the next financial year. However, local athletes need to prepare during this financial year in order for them to qualify to be part of Team Namibia,” stressed the Minister.
Meanwhile, Uutoni said that the Ministry has successfully concluded the drafting of the different national documents in support of its mandate of creating an enabling environment and good governance.
He said the long awaited Sport Bill, Professional Boxing Bill, Draft National Sport and Recreational Policy including the Draft Sport Reward Policy will soon be presented to the cabinet before the end of the 2018/19 financial year.
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