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Sport gets smaller budget vote

by Lesotho Times
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MASERU — Finance Minister Timothy Thahane has sliced the budget allocation for the Ministry of Gender, Youth, Sports and Recreation by five percent.

The ministry’s share has been cut from M196.4 million in the last financial year last year to M186.5 million.

Thahane presented his budget speech in parliament last Friday.

The Lesotho Sport and Recreation Commission (LSRC)’s chief executive officer, Kholoang Mokalanyane, however said the slash in the budget allocation would not see sporting associations getting less than they received last year.

He said the ministry would prioritise sport although government subventions to sports associations were unlikely to increase this year.

“Obviously if the budget of the ministry in charge of sport has been reduced logic tells you there will have to be cuts somewhere,” Mokalanyane told the Lesotho Times this week.

“But we are not going to reduce allocations for sporting associations (because) we don’t want to affect them.”

“It will hamper the operations of the commission,” he added.

However, the development remains a blow to the sports associations that had hoped for more funding from the government.

The Lesotho Football Association (Lefa) has failed to register the country for the 2012 African Nations Cup qualifiers because of lack of money.

Lefa said the M1 million it received from the government through the LSRC was not enough for the running of the association let alone to fund national team assignments.

Recently, Lesotho risked missing the Taekwondo World Youth Championships in March because the association running the sport could not raise M183 000 needed for the trip to Mexico.

Taekwondo received a M230 000 subvention last year.

Upon his election as president of the Lesotho Amateur Boxing Association earlier this month, Fako Hakane said his main priority would be to source more funds for the association which has been getting M190 000 a year from the government.

This Saturday the LSRC is due to hold a conference with all its 32 affiliate sporting associations.

“It is a consultative meeting where we want to see their budgets and their strategic plans,” Mokalanyane said.

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