The COVID-19 pandemic has had its effects on several sectors across the world. The disease that broke out last year has hit the economies so hard that countries are now forced into making adjustments in their budget lines to keep operating.
Uganda has felt the pinch too and government has gone ahead to make changes in the budget lines for the 2020/2021 Financial year.
While addressing an online meeting (via zoom) for national sports federations/associations that attracted over 80 participants, the Minister of State for Sports, Hon, Hamson Obua revealed that the government will make budget cuts across different sectors to the tune of 402 billion shillings.
“It is unfortunate that the world is going through a tough period with the COVID-19 pandemic. Of course none of us saw this coming. Therefore, we did not prepare for it. We were lobbying for more resources but little did we know that this would strike the world to such levels,” he started before adding, “As the government continues to fight against the pandemic, funds have been channelled towards this and definitely affecting our plans.”
“In the forthcoming financial year, government has made budget cuts to its Ministries, departments and agencies to the tune of 402 billion shillings. Of course even the Ministry of Education and Sports has been affected.”
The Minister further revealed that the sports budget will be reduced to the tune of 8 billion shillings. This therefore means that the budget towards National Council of Sports will reduce from 26 billion shillings which was allocated in the 2019/20 Financial year to 18 billion shillings.
“Sports is one of the sub sectors which will be affected in the new budget allocations with a reduction of 8 billion shillings. It is unfortunate that this is happening but our hands are tied for now because government needs to take care of our lives as the first priority.
Obua however threw a cast of hope despite the reductions indicating, he will continue to engage with government along the way.
“But all is not lost. We have made engagements with Speaker of Parliament, Min of Finance, Planning and Economic Development and the Minister of Education and Sports that if government continues to raise funds within the course of the year, we can get some support through supplementary budgets.”
Dr. Donald Rukare, the National Council of Sports (NCS) Chairman, lauded the members who attended the meeting and remains hopeful that sports federations will continue to operate despite the challenges.
“We thank the Minister for honouring our meeting and informing us about the stand of government. Definitely it is unfortunate that we shall be affected but it is an emergency which we must understand. I thank the heads of federations/associations who have been able to attend this important meeting and we can continue to engage government by having such talks so that we devise means on how we survive through this tough period.”
Rukare at the end of the meeting announced that the NCS will set up a committee that will continuously engage government during this period.