Government is holding negotiations on possible tax exemptions for sporting equipment.
“We (Ministry of Education and Sports) are negotiating with the Ministry of Finance about tax exemption; what has delayed us is how this should be done,” said Hon. Charles Bakabulindi, Minister of State for Sports.
The Minister, a Workers MP, was responding to a Motion moved to pay tribute to Mr. David Emong for winning a silver medal at the Rio 26 Paralympics in Brazil early this month. A similar Motion was moved to congratulate the Uganda Cranes for qualifying for the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2017, after 38 years. The Cranes emerged victorious over Comoros at Namboole Stadium on Saturday 3rd September 2016.
“We do not want everyone importing balls to benefit. We need a formula on whether to only target particular institutions promoting sports,” he added.
Sports took over the always political floor of Parliament on Thursday 22nd Septmeber 2016 as legislators honored Emong as Uganda’s Olympics Paralympics silver medalist, and the national football team, the Uganda Cranes.
The Minister said that although the budget for the Sports sector has increased, from Ushs 3.1b in the 2009/2010 to Ushs 12.1 in 2015/2016, it was still below the required Ushs 76b.
“There is need for more funding; Members need to appreciate that there is some effort done, but we need to put more resources into the sector,” he said.
Bakabulundi also said that there was need to put in place required sports infrastructure and to motivate winning athletes.
Members wondered how sports talent will be improved when available facilities like stadiums are being encroached on or being given away to investors. They urged government to identify and motivate potential sportsmen and women so as to improve their talent early enough.
Kioga County MP Anthony Okello (NRM), who moved the Motion for Parliament to honorEmong, said his victory presented a unique opportunity for the advancement of sport in the country; with particular emphasis to persons with disabilities.
Emong came second in the T46 Men’s class of 1500m race at the Marcana Stadium on Saturday 17th September 2016.
“Emong overcame all the odds of being disabled and inadequately facilitated to achieve this goal; something that was not realised in a vacuum. He is the first Ugandan to win a medal in the Paralympics,” Okello said.
In the prayers of the Motion, Hon. Okello asked the government to support Emong to win a golden medal in the next Paralympics in Tokyo 2020; to support Emong like it did support other medallists; and to identify, nurture and support people with disabilities
Hon. Doreen Amule (Amolatar), seconded the Motion saying that Emong was very humble, respectful and obedient while growing up. “He would run for 39 Kilometres to buy household items for his home while he was growing, which was a sign that he had the talent in him,” Amule said.
Before the Olympics, Emong won various medals in the All Africa Games and East African Games.
In the Motion, Parliament asked government to support the athlete as he attempts to win gold in the next Olympics; and to recognize him like was the case with earlier sports winners in the past.