Sep 1, 2009, 7:25 AM
The government's national sports policy and programme of action 1999 - 2008 is virtually at an end. Now what next?
The sports policy and programme of action was expected to produce some significant developments in the sports of this country. It had been expected by now that sports infrastructure, particularly playing fields and mini-stadia, would have been provided across the country, in major sports centres.
The advantage of this is not only to avail ourselves of infrastructural facilities, but also to allow for potential national players to showcase themselves and be identified for national training action. It is expected that national sports associations would be helped develop both institutionally and materially in terms of sports gear, equipment and tournament opportunities. If associations are not shown the necessary interest or support they become dormant in the long run. Where does that leave our sports development and sports performance at national and international levels?
The first ten-year plan has elapsed but unfortunately no concrete or visible results seem to have been registered. Hardly any impact. At least six Secretaries of State have come and gone during this short-term period, but their audience is still waiting. Therefor it is time for the government to look more seriously at the sports sub-sector. Government should re-assess their own goodwill and commitment to sports development. By now there should be a plan review in progress involving policy-makers and major stakeholders. In fact, such a review would have been best held at the mid-term, around 2004, but that failed to happen which is why serious progress could not possibly have been made in the second half period.
Now a full term review is vital so that everyone can know the real causes of our failure and opportune measures and mechanisms can be put in place to arrest and reverse the unfavourable situation.
Because one of the obvious setbacks to sports development is the lack of adequate financial support to the sector, government should seriously consider making meaningful budgetary allocations to sports. They should also encourage the business sector to contribute more significantly to sports by granting tax exemptions or tax relief in respect of donations to sports in this country.
It should be remembered that sports promotion and development are all about financial investment. Those countries that have invested more have been seen to achieve more success. But all of this must start with a thorough review by stakeholders of all the elements of the policy and programme of action so as to chart the proper way forward.
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