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Echesa, Rotich summoned over Sports Fund

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Cabinet Secretary of Sports and Heritage Rashid Echesa during his first day in office. Photo/RAYMOND MAKHAYA

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 23 – The National Assembly Finance and Planning Committee now wants the National Treasury and the Ministry of Sports to appear before it to clear the air over the status of the National Sport Fund.

Committee Chairman Joseph Limo (Kipkelion East) gave this directive after National Treasury Cabinet Administrative Secretary Nelson Gaichuhie admitted that Treasury diverted Sh3.4 billion which been collected between July 2017 and December 2018 to Consolidated Fund after it emerged that the Fund was not properly constituted.

“We need to get the proper reasons as why the Sports Funds has not been operationalized because we can now see there is a push and pull between the two ministries and therefore going to have another session with the two ministries to understand why there is a conflict,” Limo directed.

However, Sports Principal Secretary Kirimi Kaberia last week told the Committee on Implementation that that Fund is in operation claiming that it had a CEO and staff in place.

-Raise funds

The Fund which was established as a state corporation under the Sport Act, is mandated to raise funds through sports lottery, investments and any other means and disburse the funds for the development of sports and recreation

Gaichuhie told MPs that a further Sh1.9 billion which currently in a National Treasury holding account will also be reimbursed as the Exchequer waits for Parliament to repeal the NSF and replace it with the Public Finance Management (Sports, Arts and Social Development Fund) Regulations).

“There is no way, we were going to go out there borrowing loans yet there is some money just sitting there idle in some account. We took the money and once it in the Exchequer we cannot tell how much each ministry got allocated, may be even Ministry of Sports got more than its share,” he said.

The CAS said the amendment is being proposed in order to align the fund with the requirements of the PFM Act which empowers the Cabinet Secretary for the National Treasury and planning to, through Regulations, designate an incorporated or unincorporated entity as the administrator of a national public Fund for efficient and effective management.

-Finance bill

The regulations are contained in the Finance Bill in which the National Treasury proposes to lay framework that will allow the ‘Commissioner shall pay the tax deducted from winnings into the Sports, Arts and Social Development Fund established under Section 24 of the Public Finance Management Act, 2012.’

The status of the monies will remain a puzzle after the Committee on Delegated Legislation chaired by Gladys Shollei recommended for the annulling of the regulations citing that it was formulated without the participation of stakeholders as is required by the Statutory Instruments Act

Nominated MP Godffrey Osotsi, Chris Omulele (Luanda), Edith Nyenze (Kitui West) however, said they are reading a sinister motive behind the plans to strip the Sports ministry of control of billions of money accruing from betting taxes.

Their colleagues Daniel Nanok (Turkana West) and David Mboni (Kitui Rural) claimed the National Treasury could be out to rail-road the sports sector to the new Sports Fund even as sports stakeholders termed it as a betrayal of what they had hoped would address perennial lack of funding of sports activities and infrastructure.

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