Bugiri Municipality MP, Asuman Basalirwa has said the finance ministry is becoming a big obstacle to the development of sports in Uganda.
Basalirwa made the statements on Thursday while appearing before the select committee investigating the reported mismanagement of funds at the National Council of Sports (NCS).
Recently, the sports sector has witnessed financial crises occasioned by delayed releases of funds or budget cuts, that recently forced the national soccer team to withdraw from key international contests such as, the African Nations Championship (CHAN) in early 2023 in Algeria.
Basalirwa blamed the current crisis on the finance ministry’s ‘failure’ to appropriate budgets as approved by Parliament.
”The finance ministry is the becoming a very big obstacle to the sports sector, Parliament appropriates money but the ministry sits somewhere and makes budget cuts; this is unconstitutional,” Basalirwa said.
This week, FUFA president, Moses Magogo announced that Uganda Cranes would withdraw from the CHAN finals slated for January next year due to financial constraints.
He warned that the consequences would have negative consequences on the team.
Basalirwa described the withdrawal as an international embarrassment, adding that the move will not only cause Uganda Cranes international ranking to drop but also attract sanction.
“We are now facing a national scandal – that Uganda Cranes is withdrawing from CHAN. But how can we withdraw from a continental competition? This story and that of She Cranes in Australia will be big international embarrassments,” said Basalirwa.
According to the Minister of State for Planning, Amos Lugoloobi, his ministry has only released 36% of the budget as opposed to the desired 50% release by this year.
“The ministry has so far released a total of Shs 17.61billion to the council to facilitate wages and the various sports federations. This presents 36.83 per cent of the approved budget,” said Lugoloobi.
On Thursday, legislators were irked that the sports sector’s potential is being crippled and proposed that henceforth, each sports federations’ budget is ring fenced and coded at the level of appropriation by Parliament, as it was noted that currently it’s the NCS that decides the allocation to federations.