No more excuses

The Secretary General in the ministry of Youth, Culture and Sports has said there will be no more excuses for failure to better their work next year.

The Secretary General in the ministry of Youth, Culture and Sports has said there will be no more excuses for failure to better their work next year.

Jean Pierre Karabaranga made the remarks a day after his ministry was allocated the highest increase in budget spending for the fiscal year 2008.

Mijespoc may not have received the biggest chunk of increase (in actual money) but were miles ahead in percentage increase.

The Infrastructure ministry received the highest increase in funds among the 27 government agencies included in the budget.

According to this year’s national budget presented to Parliament on Monday, October 15 by Finance Minister James Musoni, Youth, Culture and Sports ministry was allocated 5, 766, 076, 512 for the year 2008 from 3, 204, 715, 792 for the year 2007, an increase of 44.4%.

The ministry of Infrastructure was allocated 103bn for the year 2008 as compared to 79bn from last year, an increase of 23.2%.

“With this money, we’re going to be able to do a lot better than we have done before. There will be no more excuses because we now have enough money,” Karabaranga admitted.

Happy with increase
Reacting to the question posed by this reporter on how he (on behalf of Mijespoc) received the news, Karabaranga said, “Of course we are happy. This is what was ought to have been done years ago.”

“In the past, we (Mijespoc) used to operate on such a small budget but as the economy grows and the government expands its revenues, things are starting to change (for the better),” he noted.

The Secretary General elaborated in brief how his ministry plans to allocate the funds to various activities starting with those that deserve first priority down to the least prioritized.

CAN U-20 to take lion’s share
With Rwanda gearing up for the 2009 U-20 Africa Youth championship, it goes without saying the event will take the lion’s share of the ministry’s budget.

Karabaranga said, “You know we are going to stage the Africa Youth championship here in 2009, which means we (Mijespoc) need a lot of funds if we’re going to organize the event on the standards as demanded by both Fifa and Caf.”

“Fifa demands that for such international events, you need to have everything going with international standards. They demand for good and secure infrastructure.

“That means our stadiums like the one in Nyamirambo need major overhaul and also Amahoro stadium is still way off the minimum required standards but I can tell you, with money available, everything will surely be improved and in time for the championship,” he promised.

According to minister Musoni’s budget, the Youth championship that brings together eight countries (seven through qualifiers in addition to the host) will consume Frw0.75bn.

Better national teams
SG Karabaranga acknowledged that if the budget, which still has go through the national Parliament for approval is endorsed, Rwanda is going to have better national teams starting next year.

He said, “If the budget is approved, our national teams are surely going to improve. In the past when we used to face financial constraints, the teams also faced problems in their preparations for international competitions but that’s going to change.”

“Starting next year, all national teams are going to be dressed uniformly. Before you could find the football dressed in blue track suits, volleyball in yellow, athletics in black, but that has to change. All teams must dress in national colors.

Another field that is going to take a large portion of the budgeted money would be renovation and maintenance of genocide memorial sites countrywide as well memorial ceremonies in and out of the country.

Others, according to Karabaranga include, cultural centres in the Diaspora (Rwanda already has one in Belgium and another in Canada); plans are underway to have one in Switzerland.

Back at home, some of the money will go into developing the national heroes’ cemetery in Remera, improving the national Ballad as well as enhancing the ministry’s Youth Employment programs (the ministry has 15 across the country that will be renovated next year).

Also, next year’s Fespad Music Festival is expected to take another large chunk of the ministry’s money. Last year’s event was run on what the SG called the ministry’s “extra-budget”.

Thanks but more is still needed
Karabaranga noted that, as a ministry, they are happy that at last the government has realized the need to allocate sports better funding because it could (sports) could be one of the best ways of enhancing the country’s brand name.

“We thank our partners, specifically the Ministry of Finance for their support but that’s not all, we need more funding in future because a lot of what we do requires a lot of facilitating (in monetary terms),” he summed up.

In their budget proposal, Mijespoc requested for Frw8billions, Karabaranga believes the government is on the right track and he expects a lot more in the next budget.

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