- DG Budget Office: Olympic money to be released Wednesday
A former Director-General of the National Sports Commission, Dr. Amos Adamu, has sent a passionate appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently release needed funds to Team Nigeria to enable the country participate at the Olympics Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Adamu noted that, the president should put aside the long wait for the Sports Ministry to retire the N2.9billion released for the 2015 All Africa Games and the 2016 Olympic preparation and do the needful by speedily releasing the N2billion to execute the Olympic Games proper.
“Time is running out fast and there is no time to start pressing the Sports Ministry to retire funds earlier released last year. The truth of the matter is that there is no way the former Director General of the NSC, Alhassan Yakmut, wouldn’t have retired the funds he collected before being posted to the another ministry,” observed Adamu.
He insisted that instead of dissipating energy on the retirement of the funds released last year, Team Nigeria ought to be in Brazil now doing final preparations for the Games.
“But at the moment that is not the pressing issue, but for the Team Nigeria members to get to the venue of the Olympics early enough so as to participate in some friendly competitions that would go a long way in preparing the athletes and coaches for the challenges of the Olympics, since the Team Nigeria didn’t embark on a comprehensive foreign training tour,” Adamu noted.
The former FIFA and CAF Executive Committee member, stated the issue of the N2.9billion should be revisited after the Olympics
“Team Nigeria’s good performance at the Rio Olympics is what should be on the front burner of the federal government now. The president should also remember that the Team Nigeria athletes strived very hard to qualify for the Olympics and they deserve a fair chance to compete for honours at the Rio Olympics.”
He noted that those suggesting that the number of athletes for the Games should be reduced, are only calling for bigger troubles for Nigerian sports as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) would come down heavily on the country with sanctions that would cost a lot of foreign exchange to offset.
Meanwhile, the Director General of the Budget Office of the Federation, Mr Ben Akabueze, has promised that the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports will receive its budgetary allocation for the Rio Olympics tomorrow, July 20.
Akabueze gave the assurance monday at a meeting of the House Committee on Sports held with the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the Account General of the federation and the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC).
The Deputy Chairman, House committee on Sports, Hon Anayo Nnebe had enquired why funds budgeted for the Olympic Games in Rio were yet to be released barely three weeks to the opening ceremony.
The Minister of Youth and Sports Development Solomon Dalung however assured that the ministry had done its best in preparing 78 athletes for ten events despite the non-availability of funds.
In his response, the Director-general, Budget office of the federation stated that his office had a budgetary allocation of N600m for the Olympics. N415.6m was for preparations of Olympic and Paralympic Games and an allocation of N184.6m to the Nigeria Olympic Committee to facilitate the Games proper out of which the ministry had sought the release of N503, 977,710.00
“You will recall the late approval of the budget and the challenges of processing this release which was occasioned by the long public holidays. The bottom line is that in a day or two, the funds will be released” the DG assured the federal lawmakers
The Olympic Games Village is scheduled to open to athletes on July 24 while the opening ceremony is billed for August 5, 2016.