YOUTH and sport minister Mr Chishimba Kambwili says his ministry would seek to get government’s approval to introduce sports levy on non-essential items to support the development of sport in the country.
And Mr Kambwili says some foreign companies operating in Africa should change their attitude by being more responsive in supporting sport on the Continent.
During a panel discussion with fellow ministers of sport from Ghana and Nigeria, Mr Elvis Afriyie-Ankrah and Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi respectively, on the relationship between government and sport, and how the two are closely interlinked, at the ongoing Soccerex African Forum 2013 in Durban, South Africa today, Mr Kambwili said his ministry had already done the write-up which would be submitted to Cabinet to introduce sports levy on items like cigarettes, beer and mobile phones, towards supporting sport in the country rather than using government coffers to do so.
Mr Kambwili noted the importance of providing incentives for companies who were already providing support towards football and other sport in the country.
Commenting on the observation by Ghana Football Association deputy Secretary General Mr Ibrahim Sannie Daara that despite companies like Standard Chartered Bank making most of their profits in Africa and Asia, they were more prone to supporting European football teams such as Liverpool than ploughing back into Africa, Mr Kambwili said he agreed with the observation.
“It’s a question about attitude. They don’t care about Africa but where they come from. I have never received even a cheque of US$1 from Standard Chartered (towards support for the national team),” he said.
Nigerian Minister for sport Mr Abdullahi concurred with the observations, saying he knew of some banks and telecoms companies who were supporting European teams like Manchester United and Arsenal, but that Africans should find ways of making their sports products marketable.
He added that the Continent should look at the value addition of sport beyond winning of medals, but how that medium translated into more social and economic gains for the respective economies.
On the support rendered by government towards sports, Mr Kambwili said he was impressed with the support from government as the Ministry recently saw a budgetary increase in the allocation from K67 billion to K120 billion, which mainly went into infrastructure development.
He also said ministers should guard against stretching their authority to begin acting like local football association presidents, as that was what usually brought conflicts.
On the same issue, Ghanian sport Minister Mr Afriyie-Ankrah said his Ministry and the local FA had resolved to focus on the common objectives.
He said Africans should focus more on growing their economies to attract private investment into sport, because the general economic growth and private business were intricately linked.
Nigeria’s Mr Abdullahi mentioned the need to build systems which would live outlive the minister’s tenure to ensure sustainability.