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Sports stakeholders cry foul over Sh1.9bn budget allocation

Sports Commissioner Gordon Oluoch PHOTO/File.
Sports Commissioner Gordon Oluoch PHOTO/File.

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 9 – The paltry Sh1.9 billion allocated to the Ministry of Sports, Arts and Culture has raised questions over whether the government will realize its targets for the sports sector in the 2016/2017 financial year with hosting the IAAF U18 World Championships topping the agenda.

The budgetary allocation announced on Wednesday by National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich was a huge cut from Sh6 billion in the 2015/2016 financial year where Sh1.8 billion was set aside for ground breaking and architectural designs of three ultra modern stadia.

Contrary to last year, the Sh1.9 billion will be disbursed across the Sports, Arts and Culture departments, meaning sports will get a small portion despite the 2017 U18 World Championships alone needing Sh1.3 billion.

Speaking to Capital Sport, Commissioner for Sports Gordon Oluoch was optimistic the government will add more funds as he believed the amount allocated by the CS was meant for getting things started.

“It’s a starting point and we hope the government will add more money along the way. The money that we will get in the sports department will go a long way to enable us improve the infrastructure. We already have the designs of the stadia to be built but of cause we will appreciate if we get more money,” Oluoch said.

“A lot of things need to be done before 2017 because we need to renovate Kasarani Stadium and get the equipment ready ahead of the World Youth Championships. I’m sure something will be done,” the Sports Commissioner asserted.

Apart from hosting the U18 World Championships and getting the Anti Doping Agency of Kenya functioning which requires Sh500 million, the Ministry of Sports will be tasked to provide funds for the international assignments undertaken by various federations in the country.

The recent development might send shivers to sports stakeholders as Kenya prepares to take part in major international assignments including the Rio Olympic Games in August as well as building standard stadia ahead of the hosting of the 2018 Africa Nations Championships (CHAN).

Following the sports budgetary allocation in the last financial year which was higher compared to this financial year, Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Arts and Culture Dr Hassan Wario said they would outsource funds to complete the facilities in Nairobi, Mombasa and Eldoret, but if the latest development is anything to go by, the stadia may not be completed in time.

However, in his budget statement to Parliament on Wednesday, Rotich affirmed the government’s commitment to complete the projects in the stipulated period.