5 October 2017

Kenya: Parliament to Slash Sh4.2 Billion CHAN Budget

Nairobi — The Ministry of Sports is set to lose close to Sh3bn of the Sh4.2bn set aside in the Supplementary Budget following the failed bid to host next year's African Nations Championship (CHAN).

This is after Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario told a Parliamentary Committee scrutinizing the Supplementary Estimates that Ministry will no longer undertake the refurbishment worth Sh873 million of the Machakos Stadium due to a contractual dispute between the ministry and County Government of Machakos.

"The contract for Machakos is on hold, because when we advertised for the main Machakos Stadium and there was a contractor who was engaged to undertake the work there but later the Governor of Machakos changed the venue so we said the contract was signed for a certain venue once you change it the contract changes," Wario told the Parliamentary Committee.

MPs led by the chairman Joseph Limo (Kipkelion East) and Kimani Ichungwah (Kikuyu) indicated that they will also recommend for the reallocation of Sh603mn meant for soft grass services as well as Sh1.6bn for access control and lighting.

However, the Moi International Sports Complex (Sh300 million), Nyayo National Stadium (Sh703 million), Eldoret Kipchoge Kieno Stadium (Sh630 million) and Meru Kinoru Stadium (Sh869 million) will retain the respective allocations because of ongoing works which are nearing completion.

Treasury Secretary Henry Rotich had on Monday voiced his objection to the legislators plot to reallocated the funds citing contracts for the construction of the stadia had been signed.

But MPs led by Qalicha Wario (Moyale) wanted the money reallocated to other items as Treasury struggles to raise cash following a slowdown on the economy, prompting budget cuts including Sh30 billion of development spending.

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) on September 23 stripped Kenya of the right to host the 2018 CHAN because of delays in preparations.

But the Ministry of Sports and the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) Chairman Nick Mwendwa blamed the political events for Kenya's failure to host the event.

The tourney which is open for players who play in their respective local leagues is ranked second in the continent for national teams in Africa behind the African Cup of Nations.

Limo told off Wario after he requested the Committee to allocate his Ministry Sh500 million for international competitions such as the Commonwealth Games, Olympics and anything that involves any of the national teams going out the country.

The CS also demanded for Sh647 million to be allocated to the cash award scheme.

"Cash awards are mandatory because every time we out athletes win gold, silver or bronze we have to give them money according to that. So if it is gold you get Sh1 million, if is silver you get Sh750,000 and then 500,000 for bronze and that must be paid especially next year when we have Commonwealth competitions, athletes expect us to pay them," he said.

The Committee Chairman and MPs asked Wario why he chose to prosecute the request before them and not before the Cabinet where the estimates initially originated from.

"CS you know you are part of the Cabinet and you are among the members of the Cabinet who sat down and approved that we need to do the following which was verily approved by Cabinet. What we need from you is for you to show us which areas cannot wait for Supplementary Estimates 2 (slated for January) or the next financial year, so that it will help us in term of prioritisation," Limo said as he guided the CS and his team.

The CS and Kimani (Kikuyu MP) later had an altercation after the latter described the minister and his officers as 'uninnovative' because they had failed to take advantage of the corporates to sponsor some of key bodies which were formed as a result of the coming into place of the Sports Act as the Kenya Academy for Sports, Sports Kenya and National Sports Fund but have not been fully operationalised due to lack of funds from the Exchequer.

"You are talking to us about a Bill on betting - which your ministry did not have an input in - it will be effective in January next year."

"But in your own innovation what are you doing I was just wondering with all the corporates in this country. Where is the innovation and desire to go out to them, you tell us you need a Sh100 to make the Sports Academy operational, yet you have not approached the Safaricoms or the EABLs of this world you are just looking up to the Exchequer to fund everything in the Ministry," said the Kikuyu MP.

Wario fired back stating that he had done a lot more at the Ministry than he is been credited for.

"We are the most creative ministry you will find anywhere. When I come into office, it was me who brought Safaricom and they gave us Sh100 million and we started selling branding rights. Unfortunately branding rights in this country is still not that well developed we tried it Nyayo with Britam but it went overboard that it almost killed the identity of the facility; now we are re-thinking branding," he said.

The CS had spurred the confrontation after he requested Sh483 to finish the Kenya Sports Academy and unspecified funds to initiate the National Sports Lottery.

"In the last Parliament there was debate on 35 percent taxation on betting and gambling organisations and that those proceeds should go to the National Sports Fund and from that basket then we can develop sports and sports infrastructure, we can support talent and so forth. Our request is if this is activated then we will be less of a burden to the budgetary allocation in this country. That money will take us to our desired vision and our plans," Wario said.


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