Sports could benefit from alcohol levies: Katamba

01 Aug 2014 14:20pm
By Hesron Kapanga
WINDHOEK, 31 JUL (NAMPA) - Since Namibia’s independence in 1990, sports has been unable to contribute to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
It is also unlikely to do so because of poor funding, the Namibia Sports Commission’s Chief Administrator Sivhute Katamba says.
He thus suggested that sports must get its own ministry.
Katamba told Nampa on Thursday that the Ministry of Youth, National Service, Sports and Culture (MYNSSC) covers many huge sectors, and therefore the “cake is divided into many parts”.
“One also cannot say culture is not important - it is as equally important as sports,” he noted.
The budget allocated to the Directorate of Sports is not big enough to cover all 52 sports codes in the country, as some countries’ Sports Commission budgets are bigger than the one for this Directorate of Sports.
“We are currently running on a N.dollars 120 million per annum budget, speaking under correction. Now imagine how much money the stakeholders will get out of that if people are talking about 52 sporting codes in the country at the moment?” he asked rhetorically.
Katamba said despite these 52 codes, there are only 43 registered with the Commission, although they support all of them.
The allocation to sports codes is not for international participation or developmental purposes, it’s only for office administration.
“We give money based on how many regions a sports’ code operates in. Even if we give N.dollars 50 000 for development and international participation, that N.dollars 50 000 is still not even enough to develop one athlete,” explained the chief administrator.
Katamba added that people should not blame Government for not funding sports fully because a lot of stakeholders have not addressed the core issues which are hampering the progress of sports in the country, have never made a case to Government on what the issues affecting sports are, nor how much money is needed to run different codes.
“We always say that we (sports) are not given attention by Government, but until now we have not addressed these core issues with regards to which sporting codes to concentrate on, and what is lacking in our sports’ legislation,” he argued.
He further stated that the Commission is now embarking on a process of involving all stakeholders from the ground-level up.
“We will ask all the people involved in the running of different sports to give us their core issues hampering the development of sports,” stated Katamba.
When the process is finished, the stakeholders and the Sports Commission will come up with a cost-effective document for each sporting code.
That document will then be given to Government, telling them the value of sports in the country.
“By the end of October this year, we will go to the line minister and give him a costed document which talks about sports, and how much money is needed to run the codes effectively,” he continued.
Katamba stated that the main reason for having a Sports Commission is not to address monetary issues, but to capacitate sports codes.
“The reason why the Sports Commission was established is not to address financial issues, but to address coaching issues and all developmental aspects which will make codes grow.
We are also supposed to grow all the codes at equal footing in all the regions,” he noted.
The chief administrator also called on Government to follow in the footsteps of Botswana, and start getting tax rebates from alcohol to help with sports’ development.
“We spoke with our colleagues from the Botswana Sports Commission to see how they get funding, and they told us that their government has introduced a levy on alcohol.
That money is then given to the sports directorate and then the Sports Commission to distribute amongst the different codes for their administrative and developmental purposes,” he said.
“It’s difficult to control someone when you are not fully funding them.
We have a lot of sports codes in the country, and some of them are operating from their houses, paying their own cellphone and telephone bills from their own pockets, and using their own transport.
These people can come and tell us whatever they want because we are not doing much to help them financially, but they respect the Commission as the custodian of sports,” he emphasised.