May house date for Sports Bill

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NAIROBI, Kenya, April 26- The much awaited Sports Bill will be finally tabled in Parliament next month.

The legislation, if passed, will usher in a major shake up in administration and funding of the country’s sports disciplines. It is currently undergoing final legal touches before it is presented for debate in the august house.

Sports Minister, Dr Paul Otuoma, gave the assurances on Tuesday where he also declared debate on the proposed legislation would be prioritised in spite of the marathon constitutional implementation programme at the current session of parliament.  

“We envisage that this Sports Bill is part of taking Kenya forward. The Government will not come to a standstill until all that legislation passes. That is why we have the Transitional Clause to allow the Government to continue running.

“In terms of a commitment, we are looking at May. We are just left with synchronising a few issues especially once it was directed we go the (Sports) Authority way and this is being finalised,” Otuoma stated.

He announced funds had been set aside to launch some of the institutions contained in the Sports Bill in the forthcoming budget.

Among them is establishment of the National Sports Fund, Kenya National Sports Institute that will offer research and training facilities for sports officers and the planned Sports Lottery that will raise finances to run sport.

The minister disclosed delays in fiscal allocations for the bodies mooted under the new law in the current budget were occasioned by negation of proper procedure while pushing it through the Cabinet for endorsement.

“Previously, there were attempts to have a Sports Commission but at that time, Treasury was not prepared because the due process of Cabinet approval was not followed,” he stated.

While granting its authorisation to the law waiting tabling at the house, the Cabinet substituted the said commission for a Sports Authority that will have the mandate of acting as an oversight body for all sporting disciplines.

It will also be tasked with the outlining the frameworks within which other bodies to be established under the law will operate independently but in co-ordination.

“We are looking at a time where government agencies in sport can go out there and engage private sector under the Private Public Programme to fund or run their activities. Our work at the ministry will to check whether everything is in order,” Otuoma, who gave an example of the Sports Stadia Management Board stated.
At the same time, the minister cautioned federations against bringing their plans or forthcoming trips or activities to the ministry at the last moment.

Stating that the ministry spent Sh500m on travelling costs for various national teams last year, Otuoma urged federation chiefs to forward their strategic plans to the ministry in advance for action.

“Last year, we had many engagements including the Commonwealth Games and other things. We need to know all local and international commitments so that where there are shortfalls, it is easy for us to work together and look for potential partners in terms of sponsorship.”

He lamented: “Some federation come to this office on Friday afternoon and they are leaving in a day or week leaving us running around and when most of these go out, they embarrass the flag since it shows they were not prepared.”

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