The Minister of State for Finance, Hon. Henry Musasizi has said that his ministry is committed to release all funds meant for the sports sector in the second quarter of the current financial year.
He was however quick to state that government is currently faced with cash flow challenges as he justified the failure to release Shs15 billion allocated in the first quarter of the financial year.
“It is true there is a balance of Shs10bn which will be released in the second quarter without fail. What I can assure this House is that as much as possible, all the budget for sports will be released. What I have as a challenge now is the cash flow but the commitment is there,” Musasizi said.
Musasizi said this as he responded to concerns by legislators who were dismayed by the manner in which government releases money appropriated to the sports sector.
“We have received two gold medals from Joshua Cheptegei and Victor Kiplangat. As we celebrate this achievement, we need to match it with the logistical support. The fact is the money Parliament appropriates does not go to the federations in time and what they receive is not what is appropriated,” said Speaker Anita Among.
Among said she had been notified that the Finance Ministry has released only Shs4 billion out of Shs15 billion allocated to the sports sector for the first quarter of the running financial year.
She said such arrangements frustrate the sector whose activities she said are fixed in specific seasons and not as and when government is ready to provide the required funds.
“One thing you have to know in sports is they have calendar activities; they have particular periods for their activities. It is either in this month or never; so will you disburse money for all quarters at once?” asked Among.
Hon. Solomon Silwany said that sports men were frustrated with the way the sector is financed noting that the sector ought to be sufficiently financed by providing what is appropriated in the budget.
“Whenever I interact with people in the sports fraternity, they say they do not get all the money Parliament provides them. We are celebrating but there is when the players are not able to partake in some games; when they do not go we simply keep quiet,” said Silwany.
Parliament will debate a motion to honor the two athletes, Joshua Cheptegei and Victor Kiplangat who won gold medals at the just concluded 2023 World Athletics Champion in Budapest, Hungary.