The government’s 2011/12 budget for sports has drawn harsh criticism with some bodies deeply concerned over the cut made.The government has allocated only 14.6 billion compared to about 14.8 billion set aside for the Ministry of Information, Youth, Culture and Sports in the 2010/11 fiscal year.
Speaking to The Citizen yesterday, a lot of sports stakeholders expressed their dissatisfaction with the cut, voicing their apprehensions over its impact on numerous grassroots programmes.Various sports bodies officials levelled their blames on the Ministry of Information, Youth, Culture and Sports now under Emmanuel Nchimbi for the “unexpected” cut.Out of the Sh14.6 billion, only Sh4.8 billion will be spent for the development of sports in the country.
Disappointed by the budget, Athletics Tanzania (AT) general secretary Suleiman Nyambui said the association was expecting it to go up given the prevailing sports excitement.”The sports fraternity is disappointed; the previous budget did not even meet the demands of all sports bodies, but strangely enough the government has decided to cut it,” Nyambui mused.
“We’ve been struggling to stage athletics tournaments under the 2010/11 budget, and now that it has been cut, I really don’t see the future of Tanzania in sports,” he observed.The AT faced a tough financial time recently when they hosted the East and Central Africa Championship with a deficit of over Sh60 million.In a lofty tone of despair, Nyambui, the bronze medallist in the 1980 Olympic Games, said history might not repeat itself in the forthcoming Games.
Nyambui and Filbert Bayi are the only Tanzanian athletes who managed to grab medals at the Olympic Games. The 5,000-metre legend called upon all bodies to spend the “little money” allocated for the development of sports in the country.’The netball controlling body, Chaneta, chairperson, Anna Bayi, bemoaned the budget cut, adding that it would have adverse effects in the development of sports.
“There is nothing we can do now apart from working hard to attract sponsors. The reduction in the budget will obviously hurt many sports, especially those we’re striving to promote,” she said. Jamhuri Kihwelu, the Under-23 head coach, added his voice to the 2011/ 12 budget for sports by criticising officials at the ministry.
“The ministry officials have no interest in sports that’s why they will never care about the amount allocated. “Our top officials should change their mindset and Tanzania will be a force to reckon with in sports,” the former Simba defender said.
Kihwelu, popularly known as Julio, called on all ministry officials to take a leaf from President Jakaya Kikwete who is the “number one” sports enthusiast.Makore Mashaka, the Boxing Federation of Tanzania (BFT) secretary general, said even though the cut was not big, it shows how sports are not given priority.