Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) is reported to have cut affiliate grants due to financial challenges this year. Recent reports are that a number of BNSC affiliates have been troubled by the situation in which their yearly grants were cut before they were even warned of this development. According to sources close to the matter, the BNSC recently informed affiliates that its financial resources have been stretched prompting affiliates to prioritise the programs they are running this year.
This week sources who preferred to speak on condition of anonymity alleged that affiliate budgets were cut without any prior explanation or warning from the BNSC. These developments come at a time when most of the codes are busy holding their elective general assemblies. Nevertheless, the BNSC is expected to commit some money to a select number of codes that will be hosting international events this year, which require input from government.
Botswana is expected to host the World Baseball Softball Congress and 2017 Netball World Youth Cup. This publication is however informed that codes that benefit from Botswana National Olympic (BNOC) Committee grant feel little impact from BNSC reduction since they have been having contingency plans in place. The BNOC four-year plan closed last year after a poor showing by local athletes at the Rio 2016 Olympics.
“We have been saving our money for our yearly calendar of events. BNSC just informed us that we exhausted our grant while we understand we have a lot of money for our competitions,” said a source close to the developments. However, reports from some sources alleged that the recent BOT50 independence celebrations might be one of the causes of their current financial paralysis.
In a recent interview, BNSC Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Falcon Sedimo confirmed that their grant from government has been cut short by over P2million, which prompted the decision to cut affiliates funds. “This was done across board, it is not true to say the commission cut the grant, and the truth of the matter is that government cut our third quarter grant by about P2.2milion. Government pays out its budget grant quarterly. Each quarterly disbursement is credited after accounting for the previous quarter grant,” Sedimo said. “The local sport codes are mostly led by volunteers, some did not account appropriately because they are either busy or did not understand the purpose of accounting for the money used.”
A rather diplomatic BNSC CEO explained that some codes who utilised the bulk of their budget during the first quarter of the year are not heavy while others plan their activities for the last quarters of the year. “The financial reduction affected those codes with activities for the last quarter of the year. The government financial year usually ends in April every year. Nevertheless, a cagey Sedimo could not be drawn to discuss whether Bot50 celebrations had negative implications in the BNSC budget. In addition Sedimo said government was faced with crisis, including the recent closure of the BCL mine in Selibe Phikwe, which the government opted to liquidate as well as challenges at Water Utilities Corporation. BNSC CEO referred the questions about Bot50 activities to the permanent secretary at the Ministry of youth Empowerment and Culture Development.