Members of Parliament have pushed for more funding to the sports sector which they can not only create jobs for Ugandans but also be used the market Uganda internationally.
The MPs made the remarks while responding to a ministerial statement from the sports minister Charles Bakkabulindi on the country’s engagement in recent continental and world tournaments.
The minister argued that Uganda’s performance in the sports has greatly improved evidenced by She Cranes being ranked the sixth-best netball team in the World and the good performance of Uganda Cranes in the recent Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament which was in Egypt.
The minister explained that Uganda Broadcasting Corporation was unable to show AFCON matches as Parliament had requested because it required sh3b yet the government had given it only sh600million.
Bakkabulindi noted that the government had given FUFA a total of sh9b for the 2018/19 financial year from which Uganda Cranes was funded in AFCON.
The minister explained that the president had also appreciated the Uganda Cranes with $1m before going to Egypt and $1m when they returned.
For the She Cranes, the minister said a total of sh1.1b had been given to the Uganda Netball Federation to facilitate the team in its recent participation in the World Netball Cup which was in Liverpool in the United Kingdom.
Upon their return, the minister said the First Lady organised a dinner for the players during which each was given sh1million.
Mbale Municipality MP Jack Wamanga said, “Our government doesn’t prioritise sports. Look at the state of stadia. They are in a terrible state. That is why we cannot even afford to host AFCON. Stadia should be developed.”
The Leader of Opposition Betty Aol said, “Government needs to plan better next time. The sports sector is not given the priority it deserves. There is a need for more funding to the sector.”
The Oyam district woman MP Santa Alum raised concern that She Cranes was not well facilitated compared to the Uganda Cranes.
Bubulo West MP Rose Mutonyi said, “I used to play for the national netball team. It looks like all female things are underrated. She Cranes marketed our country internationally. The players should have been given more money as the case was for the Uganda Cranes players. The Uganda cranes players wouldn’t have got their money if they had not protested. We were embarrassed and that is why we lost. ”
Mukono South MP Johnson Muyanja Ssenyonga said, “I think late planning was the problem and it is seen in all other sectors. The ministry and government should plan better for the next AFCON of 2021 to avoid the mistakes that happened in Egypt.”
Otuke County MP Julius Acon noted that whereas there are 43 sports disciplines to be funded, sh10b out of the total budget of sh14b goes to FUFA to support football and the remaining balance is for all the 42 sports disciplines.
The shadow minister for sports Allan Ssewanyana and West Moyo MP Aza Alero called for an investigation on FUFA which they said receives a lot of money from international and local organizations but the money is not properly accounted for.
In his concluding remarks, Bakabulinde said, “I agree with you entirely that my budget is not enough. If we are allocated more money, we can do better in sports because we have a lot of talent here. If you give me more money, we shall construct the stadiums.”