On Tuesday, 12th May 2020, The National Council of Sports (NCS) the first interactive online meeting with its member Associations/Federations.
The meeting summoned by the NCS Chairman, Dr. Donald Rukare was addressed by the State Minister for Sports Hon. Hamson Denis Obua and the General Secretary Dr. Benard Patrick Ogwel.
FUFA was represented by Vice President Justus Mugisha and CEO Edgar Watson, Cricket had CEO Martin Ondeko and operations manager, John Trust Mayeku, Nasser Sserunjogi (FUBA), Moses Muhangi (UBF), Hadijja Namanda (UVF), Cedric Babu (Tennis), Bob Trubish (PAU) and Moses Mwase (USF).
Associations’ representatives were given an opportunity to raise their concerns, suggestions, and questions, most of which were met with satisfying responses from the General Secretary.
Here are some of the highlights from the historic engagement, the first of its nature held via a zoom conference.
DR. Donald Rukare – Chairman, NCS
Rukare appealed to members of the represented Federations to be vigilant in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
He also promised that the NCS will continue to reach out to people in Associations. He as well reiterated that the focus of the council appointed on February 14th will continue to be transparency & governance, accountability, sports policy formulation, partnerships, putting athletes at the forefront of the sports agenda.
DR. Bernaard Patrick Ogwel – General Secretary, NCS
Dr. Ogwel confirmed that many programs were canceled due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic during this forum.
To this, he assured Federations/Association members that there will be variance on the Government funding, which could be one of the reasons for the budget cuts that would see Sports receive funding that is less by over 7bn for the next financial year.
Ogwel also reminded the stakeholders that the NCS’s task goes beyond sponsoring events spelled out in the NCS Act and that the focus does not stop on funding.
He added that the NCS will continue to pursue the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) agreed upon as a means to uplift the facilities at the Lugogo Sports Complex. He ended his brief by appealing to the Federations to continue following the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health.
HON. Hamson Denis Obua – State Minister for Sports
The Sports Minister said sports will only resume on two conditions, which are;
- When Uganda contains the COVID-19 pandemic to which no one has an exact answer on when resumption will happen and
- When the Ministry of Education and Sports follows all the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health.
Obua also reminded the stakeholders that the sports budget may be cut by the Shs. 8bn for the next financial year.
“All government ministries, departments, and agencies have had their 2020/21 budgets cut which makes the total of this cut Shs402bn.
Sports will, therefore, face a cut of Shs. 8bn in the appropriation bill that has since been passed by parliament.”
“We shall continue to engage with the speaker and parliament on these issues throughout the financial year. If there is an opportunity to raise it in the supplementary expenditure, we shall try. However, if the government continues to raise revenue through the financial year, the budget may as well be increased.”
He also revealed how shocked he was when he received information about the cut.
“We were shocked and didn’t expect the cut and it’s a disadvantage for now. For the fourth quarter, government has cut all development expenditure for all ministries, departments, and agencies to zero to be able to allocate resources for the COVID-19 pandemic fight.”
“Council will sit and make adjustments to the pre-planned budgets once subvention is released knowing it will be less than that planned.”
On the issue of the Mandela National Stadium, Obua said he would address the media on Wednesday, 13th May.
“I will address the media tomorrow, Wednesday, May 13, 2020, on the status of Mandela National Stadium as per a recent report made by CAF,” he said.
“We are going to conduct a needs assessment to make the necessary rehabilitation on the country’s national stadium which will be presented in the cabinet.”
“I agree that this is an old stadium and there’s a need for a new and modern stadium.” He added
Whether this means the construction of a new stadium, we wait to see what happens then.
This article was compiled with help from the Spokesperson of the National Council of Sports, Mr. Ismail Dhakaba Kigongo.