Sports Commission budget cut by over N$17 million

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… gloomy days ahead

Otniel Hembapu

Windhoek-With almost the entire local sports sector already webbed in a financial blizzard, the Namibia Sports Commission (NSC) – which subsidises all sports federations – has again been hit with heavy budget cuts following the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service announcement that it will allocate a paltry N$21.6 million to the NSC for the new financial year.

The N$21.6 for the NSC spells a massive budget cut of more than N$17 million when compared to the N$38.7 million the NSC got in the last financial year.

The NSC budget figures were highlighted during sports minister Jerry Ekandjo’s budget motivation speech in the National Assembly on Tuesday, when he again expressed serious concern about the dwindling financial resources allocated to the ministry annually.

Given the nature of international competitions and the overall input and financial pressure that come with preparing a group of athletes to participate continentally and internally, Ekandjo said it was becoming unbearable for his ministry to fully fund the participation of various sports codes, considering that many a time they have to pay for athletes’ accommodation, air tickets and participation fees in foreign currency.

Ekandjo also touched on the country’s ailing sports infrastructure, saying with the amount of limited resources they get, it is becoming impossible to maintain and construct new sports facilities as the demand always eclipses the budget’s capacity.

From the N$62.5 billion national budget for the 2017/18 financial year that was recently tabled by finance minister Calle Schlettwein, the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service only received N$385 million – that’s more than N$100 million less when compared to the N$491 million it got the last financial year.

The N$385 million for the 2017/18 financial year means the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service will have to equally feed all three of its directorates – sport, youth and national service – with a smaller slice of the cake.

It remains to be seen how the powers that be at the ministry will equally distribute their already sliced up piece of cake among the three important directorates, with the sports directorate faced with a daunting task of making sure it assists the country’s financially paralyzed sports codes.

The youth and national service directorates will both have equally demanding activities this year, such as the construction of new facilities and rehabilitating various multipurpose youth centres countrywide.

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