Windhoek-Minister of Sport, Youth and National Service Jerry Ekandjo has said whenever youth-related issues arise the blame is usually put squarely at the door of his ministry, despite it being a cross-sectoral responsibility.
“My experience has been that when the going gets tough, all youth or sport-related issues are referred to our ministry, knowing very well that no corresponding resources have been allocated to deal with these challenges,” he said.
Presenting his budget motivation speech in the National Assembly on Wednesday, Ekandjo said the N$37.5 million allocated to the ministry’s infrastructure development is not enough, considering the prevailing state of sport codes in the country, as well as the high level of youth unemployment.
“I take note of the fact that our ministry is not one of the priority ministries since its formation, but its mandate is such that issues of sport and youth, despite the much-held view that youth issues are sectoral, rest squarely on the ministry,” he said.
Ekandjo said he has witnessed over the years a steady pattern of steep budgetary cuts in allocations to his ministry – both on the operational and development components – to such an extent that they can hardly construct infrastructure or fully implement some of the youth programmes.
“Yes, we can do more with less but one needs to have that less on which to build more,” he said, adding that this has really created serious challenges for both the youth and sporting community in the country.
He said the ministry is being seen as ineffective and unable to bring about creative youth programmes and the growth to sports in the country.
Ekandjo further said the minister of finance in his budget speech placed greater emphasis on job creation, poverty eradication and improving income equality, and his ministry agrees that all these can be achieved through sustainable economic growth.
However, Ekandjo believes government can create hope for a better future for the youth through sports development as an industry, which contributes to alleviating unemployment and poverty.
“We have so many young Namibians making their trade outside Namibia, such as South Africa and Europe, and this is because the sport industry in these countries and continents are heavily supported by government and the private sectors,” he said.
Ekandjo is of the view a formula can be devised to ensure that sport is supported by the corporate world if strategy and laws were to be enacted to facilitate such move.
“Our neighbouring countries have designated specific industries to support sport in return for exemption from corporate tax,” he added.