NSC DG, Dr Patrick Ekeji
By Olawale Ajimotokan
The Budget Office has appropriated the sum of N6.7 for the National Sports Commission (NSC) for next year.
Out of the amount, the lion share of N3.6 billion is earmarked on overhead cost and sporting activities, N1.8billion on capital cost, while N1.2 billion is to be used as personnel coat.
The amount was approved Monday for the leadership of the NSC led by Dr Patrick Ekeji which appeared before the House of Representatives Sports Committee to defend the performance of the 2012 budget.
But it was, however, not plain sailing as the members of the committee led Hon Godfrey Gaiya, took on the NSC over several items, including the 44 grassroots mini sports centres in addition to the high cost of London 2012.
Ekeji said the Sport Commission intended to spend about N1 billion next on the upgrades of the six government owned stadiums, completion of the mini centres, athletes hostels and the construction of the new secretariat of the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA), in Abuja.
But the last summer Olympic Games where Nigeria finished without a single medal, after spending over N2.3 billion, was a stickling point as lawmakers questioned the decision of the sport ministry to spend on items that were not appropriated to the tune of N399m.
The extra budgetary spending led to the diversion of N400millon meant for the National Sports Festival, into the Olympic Games.
NSC said it spent $25,000 on Bulgarian sparring partners for the wresting team, paid another cost to London 2012 LOC in registration and fines in addition to financing the training tour of the basketball team that stunned bookies to qualify for the Olympic Games.
Ministry officials similarly claimed that the expenditure for the Games was in hard currency which was sourced from the volatile parallel market at high exchange rate.
Hon Nazir Zangon Daura, rapped the commission for sourcing money through the parallel market when it could have conveniently approached the Central Bank of Nigeria, (CBN), while Hon Akeem Abiodun Munir, lamented the deplorable state of the National Stadium, Lagos, which has become a hotspot for night revellers, rather serving the purpose of sports men.
Gaiya, advised NSC to prioritise by committing money into fixing three of the federal stadiums in a given year, instead of staggering its funds on all six stadiums without meaning results.
Ekeji said that 18 of the 44 mini sports centres embarked upon since 2009 have been completed, while over N839 million was released last year for the projects.