Mixed reactions after sector gets slightly improved allocation from Treasury

Friday, June 12th, 2020 00:00 |
Kenya Rugby Union Vice Chairman Thomas Opiyo (left) addresses members of the Sports Parliamentary Committee sometime last year. With him is Athletics Kenya vice president Paul Mutwii (centre) and FKF president Nick Mwendwa (right). Photo/PD/PHILLIP KAMAKYA

Members of the sports fraternity yesterday expressed mixed reactions after National Treasury  Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani announced a budget of Sh 14 billion for the sector in the next financial year.

“Sports, Culture, Tourism and Arts contribute immensly to our economic development by boosting job creation for our youth and generating foreign exchange.

To support these sectors, i propose an allocation of Af 14 billion to the Sports, Arts and Social Development Fund.

I have also set aside Sh 2.5 billion for the Tourism Promotion Fund (TPF) and Sh 3.8 billion for the Tourism Fund,” Yatani said.

Though the amount is almost double from the Sh 7.9 billion that was allocated to sports during the last budget day last year, leaders of different sports federations had different opinions, with some feeling that the amount could have been more, given the number of activities lined up for a busy 2021 and the fact that no one currently knew when the coronavirus pandemic will end.

A series of activities have been lined up for the next financial year, with the Tokyo Olympics leading the list.

National Olympic Committee of Kenya (Noc-k) had announced a budget of Sh 600 million for the Games that had initially been planned for August this year before it was shelved to next year around the same time due to the current coronavirus pandemic.

Other key events are the Safari Rally which was making a return to the World Rally Championships (WRC) calendar after more than 15 years absence and has a budget of Sh 200 million, Football Kenya Federation (FKF) activities which saw the federation table a budget of Sh 800 million, Kenya Rugby Union activities that require a budget of Sh 500 million and a host of athletics events including the World Athletics Under 20 championships, Continental Tour, Africa Cross Country Championships and the Africa Athletics Championships.

“It’s a good sign from the government, especially given the fact that the allocation to sports has almost doubled.

It, however, depends on the budget lines because we don’t know what exactly will be allocated where, a big chunk could go to the stadia in case they are far from being finished, but all in all we will be expecting increased support to federations and national teams” said Kenya Volleyball Federation boss Waithaka Kioni who also doubles up as the Chief De Mission of Team Kenya for the Olympics Games.

He added: “The government should know that sponsorship of national teams is squarely their responsibility and so they should support our junior teams which act as feeders for the national sides, and also our men national team, because you will notice that the women national volleyball team Malkia Strikers has gone far due to financial support unlike the men team.”

Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) chairman Oduor Gangla suggested that with their activities budget of Sh 500 million, it was a good sign that they would achieve their goals.

“More money into sports is definitely a welcome move and it shows we add value to the country. As KRU we were looking mostly at covering our programs and indeed improve on infrastructure.

As a sport that has brought glory to this country, it is therefore important that we are seriously considered especially with the Olympics coming up,” Gangla said.

He added: “We will be hosting the U2O Barthes Cup that we won last year and also carry out proper preparations for the 2022 Rugby World Cup with Simba.

At the same time Shujaa will be having a busy schedule and the Lionesses will also be on the Olympics trail and are also in the running for the 15 aside World Cup in 2021. So it is quite a lot and we hope the Ministry will enable our mission to succeed.”

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