The KEPSA Sports, Culture and Arts sector board held its monthly sector board meeting on 8th November 2017. The main agenda of the meeting was on how to harness private sector strength and follow up on action plan with the National Sports Fund.
The significance of this sector is further emphasized by Sports, Arts and Culture being a part of every citizen’s life and is fundamental to human development. Every child must be able to play, express themselves and show the culture of Kenya. It is therefore important to have proper institutions to guide the development of these two sectors. The proposed 35 % tax that will be charged to betting companies should be channeled to the National Sport Fund who in turn are supposed to ensure funds utilized are for development of the sector. Quarterly updates should be communicated in order to enhance transparency and accountability.
Sports development is currently facing a lot of challenges, from governance structures, funding, technical support, infrastructure development among others. For example, paraplegic swimmers are not graded and classified and therefore they cannot take part in regional and international swimming competitions. There are various organizations both in Kenya and internationally that currently support sports and creative industry. Others have a lot of potential to support when proper structures of accountability are put in place. There is great talent in the country but it is not well organized hence the need for some of the private sector players to fill the gap.
Establishment of The National Lottery is one of the flagship projects of Vision 2030 and the 35% of the betting tax proposed in the last financial year will be disbursed through the National Sports Fund. Dr. Njogu Kimondo, Manager of Strategy, Policy and Research of the National Sports Fund (NSF), briefed members of the progress made by The National Sport Funds in putting in place frameworks to operationalize its functions.
The Fund is in the process of developing its strategic plan that will focus on how to mobilize funds and allocate funds for sports development. The draft regulations that will be used to guide the disbursement of funds to sport activities, sport federations and sport people have been developed. The regulations have been forwarded to the Ministry of Sport, Culture and Arts for approval before being forwarded to the Attorney General. The National Sport Fund is in the process of looking for partners in establishing a National Lottery because it requires a significant amount of initial capital outlay. Therefore, the National Sports Fund is also considering public private partnership to establish the National Lottery. The Terms of Reference for public private partnership have been developed and will be subjected to stakeholders’ validation.
KEPSA highlighted the significance of accountability and sustainability of the funds disbursed to Sport federations in Kenya. The National Sport Fund should also consider focusing more on developing the sport talent and personnel starting from the grass root level. This will create more interest and it will even be easy to commercialize sports in the country. Effective and efficient governance systems will bring growth and sustainability of the sector. This will in turn attract more investors around it.
There is need to build sport entrepreneurs, sport people representatives and managers who will be responsible of integrating culture and sports. The National Sport Fund can also focus on the whole sport value chain and the other facilities needed apart from stadium for the value chain to be effective.
The Sector Board Chairman, Mr Herbert Mwachiro, said the National Sport Fund must get it right from the word go: their regulations, guidelines and criteria, which will attract investments in the sector. It will also lessen shifting of policies and approaches that create insecurity of investing in the sector. He also pointed out the need for NSF to focus on their scope and include dynamism in their financing approaches. Commercialization strategy is key in ensuring that the entities funded do not use the funds to meet their recurrent expenditures only, thus sinking the funds and shifting it from its intended objective of developing sporting talent and infrastructure.
KEPSA will continue to engage with the National Sports Fund in the actualization of the National Lottery. All private sector players should harness their effort and support the National Sports Fund to grow and develop the sports, culture and arts industries.