Uganda: Prioritise sports funding in Budget process – Speaker

The Speaker of Parliament, Anita Among, has directed the Executive to prioritise sports budgeting during budget formulation instead of relying on reallocations.

Among issued the directive while chairing the House on Tuesday, 16 April 2024 wherein she emphasised that the sports sector is one of the avenues through which Uganda is marketed internationally.

“Hosting and supporting sports come with opportunities for the country and gives the country a positive image,” she said.

Members of Parliament (MPs) rallied behind the Speaker, calling for more funding to the sports sector and appealed to the Executive, to avail funds in time for sport activities.

During the session, Hon. Andrew Ojok, the MP for Omoro County presented a motion to pay tribute to the Government of Uganda for the successful bid to host the 2024 and 2025 edition of the Africa Rugby Cup.

The Rugby Africa Cup is a two-year men’s rugby union tournament involving the top 16 African nations, organised by Rugby Africa.

Ojok said that the benefits that will accrue to Uganda for hosting the games include raising the global profile of Uganda, increased investment in sports infrastructure and social services, increased revenue and stimulating sport development as an economic and community development tool.

Prayers from the motion included urging government to provide Shs2,546,276,000 to the Uganda Rugby Union for their preparations to host the Rugby Africa Cup slated to run from 18 to 29 July 2024.

Hon. Elijah Mushemeza, the MP for Sheema County South petitioned the Government to provide the funds needed to facilitate the games because the games will attract investors with high returns.

Hon. Tonny Ayoo, the MP for Kwania County expressed concern over the slow adoption of rugby in the country. He requested that government releases money for the games since it will promote awareness about the sport.

“I attended one game with the Hon. Government Chief Whip and it rained. The whole ground was flooded. Can government provide funds to develop facilities for the games?” he asked.

The women legislators also supported the motion, adding their voice to the call to fund rugby with Hon. Santa Alum (UPC, District Woman Representative, Oyam) informing the House that although rugby has been a male dominated sport, the women’s rugby team has made significant progress and the Uganda Lady Cranes recently won a gold medal in Ghana.

“The team is set to represent Uganda in Poland and Madrid. They have become our ambassadors. In rugby, our flag is flying high. It is my humble request that the finance ministry gives the team the required money,” she said.

Hon. Mourine Osoru, the City Woman Representative for Arua, said that since it is the young people that mostly play the games, all forms of sports should be supported before querying why the pledge to build the Inzikuru Stadium has not been fulfilled.

“Remember that Dorcus Inzikuru was a golden girl and a stadium was to be built in her honour in West Nile. Can the minister update the House on what progress he has made?” she asked. 

Erute South County MP, Hon. Jonathan Odur, guided that the House amends the motion to include the two rugby editions so that the matter is handled holistically.

The State Minister for Sports. Hon. Peter Ogwang informed the House that rugby has marketed Uganda the most and committed to work together with Parliament and the Executive, to ensure that the money is incorporated in the next financial year.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Parliament of the Republic of Uganda.

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