The Namibian sports fraternity has been thrown into further turmoil after it emerged that the Ministry of Finance recently gave instructions to the Sport Ministry to halt all planned funding for sport, youth and other national service activities with immediate effect.
As a result, the Sport Ministry extended the same directive to all its affiliates, in this case also requesting the Namibia Sports Commission (NSC) to immediately withhold all planned or unplanned funding of the activities of the various federations and sport codes.
This follows in the wake of another crisis that has seen the country’s flagship football league, the Namibia Premier League (NPL), struggling to launch its annual league activities due to insufficient funds.
This came after trusted partner MTC pulled out of negotiations after the two parties reached a deadlock on the tabled budget, which had uncharacteristically ballooned from the customary N$15 million to N$24 million.
The shocking news has caught many a sport enthusiast and practitioner by surprise, while causing havoc within the entire sports fraternity, with many predicting the demise of local athletes.
Approached to confirm the shocking news, the director in the portfolio ministry, Sivhute Katamba, confirmed receipt of the letter via their permanent secretary, containing directives from the Finance Ministry, before referring all queries to the acting director of sports, Norii Kaanjuka.
“It’s entirely true. We’ve been given directives by the Ministry of Finance to effect major cuts to the allocated budget and, as you are aware, the portfolio minister is right now busy in the National Assembly tabling the mid-term budget review,” he said yesterday afternoon.
Kaanjuka was quick to pour cold water on the issue, saying the directive on budget cuts does not necessarily affect sport codes, since it is only aimed at minimising operational expenses within the Sports Ministry, more precisely, cutting down on excessive over-time claims, travel and other unnecessary expenditure that can be avoided.
“Our budget has been severely cut by more than one hundred million dollars. That’s a massive blow to our planned operations, but that’s the naked reality and we just have to live with that,” Kaanjuka said.