Legislators laud performance of Ugandan athletes, call for timely funding

Legislators have praised the Uganda's national senior athletics and netball teams for their stellar performances in recent international sports events.

Athletes Joshua Cheptegei and Victor Kiplagant each won gold medals at the 19th World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary, while the national women's netball team, She Cranes, emerged the best in Africa and the fifth in the world at the World Netball Cup held in Cape Town, South Africa.

The State Minister for Sports, Hon. Peter Ogwang, moved the motion, which Parliament passed, to congratulate the sports personalities, during the plenary sitting held on Wednesday, 30 August 2023.

He alluded to the National Sports Act that provides for reward and recognition of Uganda's best performing sports personalities.
“Can I ask you [MPs] to help me start appropriating money in the budget for purposes of recognising outstanding athletes who make our flag fly high on the international scene,” said Ogwang.

He added that the release to the Ministry for participants in regional and international athletic events was less by Shs10 billion in the first quarter (July – September).
“The budget was approved and we implore Ministry of Finance to give us money according to what was appropriated for quarter one,” Ogwang said.

Hon. Asuman Basalirwa (JEEMA, Bugiri Municipality) said releasing funds to the sports sector in a timely manner will take it to the next level, especially in terms of participation.
“It does not make sense for us to appropriate money here and the Minister for Finance releases money as and when he feels like, well knowing that sports has a calendar,” said Basalirwa.

Hon. Tony Ayoo (NRM, Kwania County) urged Parliament to appropriate enough funds towards sports events to facilitate the participation of the country's athletes.
“If these athletes have not been paid all their allowances, one of the resolutions of this House should be to ensure that they are paid immediately, because what they go through to bring this gold is hard work,” Ayoo noted.

The State Minister for Finance, Hon. Henry Musasizi, said the Ministry has advised entities to notify them ahead of time to enable them plan disbursements accordingly.
“If the Sports Minister had notified us at the beginning of July that activities under athletics and the sports sub-sector will take place in July, August and September, we would have done the release accordingly,” said Musasizi.

Basalirwa also tasked the Sports Minister to take keen interest in sports federations and ensure their strict supervision and governance, to curb mal-administration.

Hon. William Chemonges (NRM, Kween County) called for improvement of road infrastructure in Sebei sub-region, which he said will facilitate training for athletes hailing from the area.

The Speaker, Anita Among, reiterated that necessary appropriation and release of funds must be done by the Finance Ministry in line with the sports calendar, and accountability of payment of sports persons by their federations followed up.

She also tasked the Minister for Sports to ensure that former athletes like Dorcus Inzikuru are appreciated just like the current performers.
“Government promised a recognition towards Inzikuru including a house and a car, but she has not gotten them to date. She is only lucky that Parliament has given her some work to do,” said Among.

Among also charged the Sports Minister with securing a training ground for Uganda's national netball team.