On Wednesday, Finance minister Iipumbu Shiimi tabled a N$67.9 billion budget in the National Assembly for the 2021/22 financial year, which officially starts next month, and of that amount, the sport ministry was allocated a meagre N$279 million for all its activities in the new financial year.
The N$279 million allocated to the ministry for the coming financial year signals a reduction of about N$27 million from the N$306 million the ministry got in the previous fiscal year. The continuous reduction in the allocation of resources to the sport and youth ministry is well documented and is one that continues to derail the development agenda of local sport.
Just like any sober-minded Namibian, I too understand the pressing needs of various social sectors such as those of health, education and security but sport is part and parcel of social sector too and it equally has its own pressing needs as well.
The calamities of drought, hunger, lack of decent housing, lack of proper schools and clinics will always be there and it is a reality that we have to live with, So, when people say sport and the all youth-related agendas have to take the backseat and make way for other “equally competing priorities”, I personally fail to comprehensive such a narrative.
In have always maintained at until the day comes when politicians have a serious interest and stake in sport, to them sport will always remain just another leisure activity and not an industry as is the case in other broad-minded countries. I have said the day politicians start owning local football clubs in the various domestic leagues, only then will sport be taken seriously because they [politicians] will be making sure that the sector is well functioning as their millions are invested there.
Like I said, sport is regarded as being part of the other social sectors such as health and education but the treatment and resources given to health and education cannot be compared to sport. Why? Because sport in the eyes of the politicians is not an “industry” but merely a leisure segment of our society.
We keep crying about the lack of sport facilities, lack of sport expertise and the seemingly unwillingness by politicians to turn sport into a self-sufficient industry that can serve as the gateway to a better life for many of the country’s youth.
With that meager N$279 million allotted for the 2021/22 financial year, the ministry is among many other things expected to revamp and construct the Eenhana and Outapi sports complexes, Usakos mini sport complex, Lüderitz Waterfront (sport facilities) as well as the renovation of the Mariental Sport Complex, the multi-purpose youth resource centres in Katima Mulilo, Mariental, Nkurenkuru and Opuwo, as well as the Frans Dimbare youth skills centre in Kavango East. How will that be possible with a paltry N$279 million?
In the 2018/19 fiscal year, the ministry received N$288.3 million, which was then a massive N$97 million reduction from the N$385 million the ministry was allocated in the 2017/18 financial period. Is it ever going to get better? Until next time, sharp sharp!!